Sen. Franken: Immigration System Tearing LGBT Families - Like 'Mark' and Alberto - Apart

April 22, 2013 - 3:09 PM

A constituent must "choose between his career and the person he loves" - a gay Italian named Alberto - Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told a Senate hearing on the immigration reform bill.

At today's hearing, Sen. Franken said current immigration law is tearing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) families apart:

"I've heard many stories from my LGBT constituents about how our immigration system is tearing their families apart."

"I recently heard from one of my constituents, who I'll call 'Mark.' Mark works for a Fortune 500 company in our state. He's a citizen. His partner, Alberto, is Italian and planned to move to Minnesota to be with Mark under the visa waiver program for Europeans. But, when they're identified as a same-sex couple by customs and border protection at the airport, Alberto was interrogated, forced to surrender his personal email password and eventually told he would not be allowed to remain in the country.

"Alberto is now back in the U.S. under a different visa on a temp basis, but it's only a temporary solution and Mark is prohibited from sponsoring Alberto for permanent residency.

"Under current law, Mark must choose between his career and the person he loves. This isn't fair; it's wrong. And, I just wanted to tell you that I and many other senators on this panel are going to do everything we can to try to see that we amend this bill to protect all families - including those of LGBT Americans."

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