Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why can't you just marry?
Under current law, there is no same-sex marriage in the United States. Only the State of Vermont has a civil union contract where same-sex couples can legalize their relationships and obtain some of the benefits that opposite-sex couples obtain when married. Unfortunately these rights are State rights ONLY and immigration is a Federal right.
2. Why don't you just go to Hawaii?
Contrary to what most people believe, Hawaii does NOT recognize same-sex marriage.
3. Why don't just move to Vermont?
To gain recognition of a same-sex relationship in Vermont, a couple must reside in Vermont. Even if this were the case, a Vermont civil union does not grant federal rights, such as immigration, only state rights.
4. This PPIA Bill is just a backdoor to marriage.
The Permanent Partners Immigration Act (PPIA), H.R. 690, is NOT a backdoor to marriage. Currently, married couples enjoy 1,049 rights according to the General Accounting Office (GAO), one of which is immigration. Saying that giving Americans in same-sex relations the right to sponsor their partners is opening the door to the recognition of so many other rights is a wrongful slippery-slope. Fifteen countries recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes. Out of these, only one recognizes same-sex marriages. Currently the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the Industrialized World in this area.
5. But passing the PPIA would create a lot of fraud!
Currently, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has measures in place to avoid fraud in opposite-sex marriage scenarios. We recognize that just as in the case of immigration through marriage, same-sex immigration is vulnerable to fraud, but no more than what is currently witnessed in the U.S. Denying a group of citizens and residents a right granted to a different group based on probable fraud is discrimination.
6. This sounds to me as a special right not an equal right.
Ideally, same-sex marriage would be the solution to immigration issues. Marriage would be an equal right, and there would be no need for a law for this or a law for that. Unfortunately, the passing to the Defense of Marriage Act, or D.O.M.A., virtually closed the door on same-sex marriage, and all the benefits it entitles, including immigration. Therefore, a law such as the one described in the PPIA, would bring some of the same rights that other couples in the U.S. currently enjoy, making all citizens more equal. An equal right is what the PPIA would bring.
7. Why can't the American partner just adopt the foreign partner?
Unfortunately, adoption, for the purpose of immigration, doesn't
work this way. The U.S.
government has placed strict age-limits on an adoptee. These limits would make such an arrangement impractical for most couples. Furthermore, given the current climate around immigration in the U.S., any same-sex couple attempting to use adoption for immigration purposes would likely be investigated for immigration fraud.
On a more practical level, an adoption cannot be dissolved as easily as a marriage or a domestic
partnership can. This means that such an adoption can have unexpected, long-term consequences for a couple after their relationship ends.
8. Why can't the foreigner just go to school?
That is a feasible but usually a very expensive alternative. Foreign tuition at public universities and colleges can be up to 10 times as expensive as resident tuition. Unless the couple has vast monetary resources, this is a difficult solution.
9. Why can't the foreigner just get a job that will get him or her the green card?
The green card process is slow and complicated. At best, it can take 2 years. There have been cases where employment-based green card applications have taken 5+ years. During this time, a family is extremely vulnerable to the economic environment and the whims of the employer, making it impossible to plan for the future, buy a home, or move around the country freely. In addition, banners have been spotted at job fairs saying "NO H-1B SPONSORSHIP AVAILABLE." Sponsorship of an H-1B visa is the first step that a company has to take in order to sponsor a green card. The current economic environment is making it extremely hard for H-1B visa holders to find a job at a company that will sponsor them in the first place, much less a company willing to sponsor a green card.
10. I can help! My company is hiring! Send me your resume!
Thank you very much for the offer, but people with H-1B visas cannot work in fields other than their specialty. In other words, a person with an engineering or marketing background cannot just take an admin, HR or any other position in order to remain in the U.S.
11. I can't believe there is nothing that can be done! What can a gay American do to keep his or her partner in the country?
NOTHING! However, there is a bill in Congress, the Permanent Partners Immigration Act (PPIA), H.R. 690, which seeks to grant immigration rights to same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners. Its passing would eliminate this problem.
12. I am outraged! How can I help pass this bill?
Love Sees No Borders does not do political lobbying in the US. Our focus is awareness ONLY. If you wish to learn more about how to help pass the PPIA, please contact the organizations listed in our Other Links section.
13. OK, let me give you some money then!
We can receive financial contributions through our fiscal sponsor, the National Center for Lesbian Rights. You can make a check to NCLR and write Love Sees No Borders on the memo line, and mail it to:
870 Market Street, Suite 570
San Francisco, CA 94102
We are also trying to set our systems so we can receive donations
of frequent flyers miles, so you can help us out. If you are interested
in donating your miles, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
so we can contact you when we are ready to receive your donation.
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