Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 7, 2014 – Immigration reform is also about gays, lesbians, the disabled, women and bisexuals. This is truly comprehensive reform.
“When Americans speak of immigration reform, they tend to think in broad strokes, only thinking about immigrant workers. In truth,” says Larry Rifkin, a Miami immigration lawyer and managing partner at Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, with law offices in Miami, Florida and Orlando, Florida. “really comprehensive immigration reform has a much broader scope than that, and it includes gays, lesbians, the disabled, women and bisexuals, whether we like it or not. Reform is about improving a system that discriminates against others. It is not about their sexual preferences and so forth.”
Seattle seems to have the right idea in mind in passing a specific resolution to indicate they strongly support federal comprehensive immigration reform. However, the resolution does not stop there. It contains specific and clear language that calls for the needs of “everyone” to be met by any reform bill the House passes —- if they are going to pass one at all. Everyone, as a class designation, is to include bisexuals, lesbians, gays, women and physically or mentally disabled individuals. The resolution was successful in garnering the support of Seattle’s Commission for People with Disabilities, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Commission, the Women’s Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Immigrant and Refuge Commission. “That’s no mean feat to get all those organizations on board and supporting something on a federal level,” adds Rifkin.
Every major city across the nation, and some smaller locales, is home to immigrants from every part of the world. They are part of the community fabric, locally and nationally. They contribute to their communities in many ways, including economically. When Seattle passed an all-inclusive resolution supporting immigration reform, it opened the door to an even more comprehensive approach to immigration reform. “It truly is about making a lousy system into something that actually works for those it is supposed to serve. It should not be about, even though it often ‘is’, certain classes of people. It needs to be about overall reform for everyone – period,” points out Rifkin.
Seattle’s resolution would be a good roadmap for the federal government to get their act together and get on the same page, instead of devolving into internecine wars about border security, or how many people should get what kinds of visas. Reform needs to be about dignity, employment, contributing to the national identity, judicial fairness, family reunification and the notion that all people of a nation are “one.”
“Is this kind of fairness going to be inherent in the immigration reform bill? There is no answer to that question, since no one seems to see it being passed anytime soon. In the meantime, the government needs to be mindful of what the true definition of equality really is,” says Rifkin.
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