Immigration reform should guarantee same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said last week.
Ellison's statement came in response to President Obama's reform proposal, which does include equal rights for both kinds of families. But extending protections to gay couples is proving politically dicey, according to the Washington Post, and isn't part of a bipartisan Senate plan.
Here is Ellison's Jan. 29, 2013 statement in full:
“America was founded on the idea of liberty and justice for all. Just like today’s immigrants, our founders came to America to escape oppression and ensure opportunity for their children. It’s long past due our laws live up to our values. The President today laid out a vision for an America that continues to be a beacon of hope for those aspiring to a better life.
“I am excited to see bipartisan momentum for comprehensive reform and support President Obama’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal. Any reform proposal should have the following core tenets: a clear path to citizenship for those who are already in the US working and paying taxes; an expedited process for family reunification; and a workable employment verification system with strict penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants.
“Any proposal should also reform the process for accepting refugees—aspiring Americans fleeing war, persecution, or natural disaster—and give same-sex families the same rights that all families receive. Minnesota has the highest number of refugees per capita. Between 1999 and 2007, over 34,000 people resettled in Minnesota, from 30 different countries. Over 50,000 Somalis alone—many of them refugees—currently live in Minnesota.
“Immigrants in Minnesota and across the United States contribute to our culture, our economy, and our workforce. It’s time we create an immigration system that rewards hard work and lives up to our values of liberty and justice for all.”
Applauding Recognition of New Somali Government
Ellison was one of 13 members of Congress to sign a letter to outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praising the United States' official recognition of the new government in Somalia. Here is an excerpt (click on the PDF thumbnail or see Ellison's webpage for full text):
"We appreciate the complex factors our government considered in taking this step after decades of lawlessness and political transition in Somalia. Now, with the establishment of the first permanent government in 22 years, we write to express support for a strong U.S.-Somali bilateral relationship. ...
"As the first leader of a representative Somali government in more than two decades, President Hassan Sheikh demonstrates a seriousness of purpose that is essential to meeting the challenges his country faces.
"We acknowledge that reopening a U.S. embassy in Mogadishu is not imminent, but hope that normal diplomatic relations can be restored as soon as possible. This moment may be our best opportunity in decades to promote peace, stability and good governance in Somalia, and our own national security interests in the region."