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Lawmakers Lobby For Gay Couples To Be Protected Under Immigration Laws

Rep. Nadler: 'Government Should Not Be Gratuitously Cruel'
Lawmakers, advocates call on Senate to include immigration reform provision for LGBT families (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Lawmakers, advocates call on Senate to include immigration reform provision for LGBT families (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Local elected officials, gay rights and immigration officials joined forces Monday to urge Congress to include gay couples under any federal immigration reform laws.

As the fight over immigration reform pushes ahead, one issue that the president and Congress don’t agree on yet is whether someone should be able to sponsor a visa for a same-sex partner.

“Just recognize when two people love one another and are in a committed relationship, that’s family,” Councilwoman Letitia James said.

At a news conference in the West Village on Monday, Angelica said she came to the U.S. from Colombia for her own safety 13 years ago. Her girlfriend Veronica is from Mexico and said her legal status is up soon.

When that happens, they will have to leave the city and the country, WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported.

“Which is very sad because you gain so much here and now you’re losing it just because you’re in love with a person that is your same sex,” said Angelica.

“So if she were Angel, I would have a Green Card now. But she’s Angelica so that doesn’t make sense at all,” Veronica added.

Lawmakers including Democratic mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio and John Liu urged any proposed changes to immigration laws to apply to same-sex couples. Liu is himself an immigrant.

“The bill does us short, does New York City short if it does not include everybody,” he said.

U.S. Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nadler also urged the gang of eight senators working on immigration reform to include protections for LGBT couples, something already supported by President Obama.

“Even if you don’t support same-sex marriage,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler said. “You should recognize that government should not be gratuitously cruel.”

“We do not want an immigration bill that leaves a whole class of people out and says, in effect, ‘you don’t count,’” Nadler added.

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