Gay Partners Seeking Immigration Changes

October 23, 2009 – In The News
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Because partners in same-sex couples -- some with children -- are not recognized as married under U.S. immigration law, if they are laid off from work and lose their employment-based green card, they don't qualify for a family-based green card and the deportation clock starts ticking. A House bill is in the works that would give gay couples the right to obtain lawful permanent resident status, in the same manner that spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents petition for foreign-born husbands and wives -- by showing that they are in a "permanent partnership."

Business leaders have been pushing for changes in immigration law that would give credit to applicants with higher education degrees or who have been successful in business, said Robert Whitehill, citing a Wall Street Journal opinion piece Oct. 19 by MIT President Susan Hockfield, who noted that four of this year's nine winners of Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics and medicine were born outside the United States, coming here as graduate or post-doctoral students. "In her article, she noted that one of the reasons we're losing our advantage in science and other fields is that instead of giving these people permanent residency, we're kicking them out of the country and telling them to go home," Whitehill said. "It's just counterintuitive."

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