WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday expressed concerns over whether or not the final draft of a comprehensiveimmigration reform bill would contain protections for foreign-born partners of gay Americans, but would not commit to voting for such an amendment.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has proposed including language from the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) – which would allow the foreign-born same-sex partners of gay U.S. citizens to apply for green card status – into the legislation as an amendment.
Schumer, one of eight lawmakers who crafted the bipartisan bill, said Thursday that he backs the amendment, but Republicans say they would not support the immigration bill if same-sex couples were included.
Druing a break in the daylong Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation, Schumer said, “Our four Democratic colleagues – including myself – believe that this is not just another issue, but an issue of discrimination, and so how we resolve this remains to be seen.”
“This one is something, you know, I worry about all the time.” Schumer said. “I’m a good sleeper, but I wake up in the morning thinking of these things, sometimes early in the morning.”
Senate Republicans in the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” — Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — have publicly indicated that they would not support the bill if same-sex couples are given the same protections as heterosexual spouses.Schumer said he would “like very much” to see the UAFA language included in the bill.
“But we have to have a bill that has support to get UAFA passed. That’s the conundrum. because if there’s no bill, there’s no UAFA either,” he said.