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Because of DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act), Americans in same-gender relationships with foreign partners have no right to sponsor those partners for legal residency in the US. Options for same-sex foreign partners of American citizens to obtain legal residence and remain in the US are extremely limited.
One of the few areas where some of our families are given an equal chance at US residency has traditionally been the Diversity Lottery conducted by the US State Department. Names of individual applicants from an approved list of countries are randomly selected by computer. If your name is one of the 100,000 chosen from millions of applications – you can apply for a green card. The odds are nearly incalculable, but each year the diversity lottery gives many same-sex binational couples hope and a chance to an equal path to US citizenship.
On Friday, May 13 it was announced that a “computer error” occurred during the selection process of this year’s diversity lottery for green cards. We are pushing to right the wrong we know has occurred at the expense of at least one of our members, and perhaps other same-sex binational couples, too.
Although 22,000 hopeful applicants had already been informed of their “win”, they have since been told that the lottery, which is meant to be random, was not. It will have to be restarted – and all those who were already making plans to move forward with their lives in the United States would need to stop. They did not win a chance to apply for a green card; in fact they lost. All of these individuals whose hopes were raised, saw them suddenly dashed. Their names will be re-entered into the lottery, but they go back to the game of chance.
Out4Immigration knows the discrimination and injustice of the current immigration system all too well. That’s why we are asking supporters to sign the petition demanding that those who have the power and authority to do so, re-instate the original 22,000 diversity lottery winners. This week we write to President Obama; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale; and the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Committees on Homeland Security.
Our immigration system is badly broken and needs to be fixed. Start by fixing something that wasn’t broken until last week.
Out4Immigration (O4I) is an all grassroots volunteer organization. Each week we target members of Congress and other elected and appointed officials with our weekly petition urging them to do something to change the unjust laws that keep same-sex binational couples from fair and just immigration rights.
You can visit Out4Immigration at its website, through its Yahoo Group Page, on Facebook and Twitter, or at its blog. If you know someone in a same-sex binational relationship, please encourage them to speak up and get involved. The time for justice is now!