Saturday, March 22, 2008

What most Americans do not know about how foreign Nationals facing to enter or stay in U.S. If we discussed by gender the door remained closed for some..

For some the door is wide open (Businessman's, Investors, politics, diplomats,and some folks with preferential treatment) for others too difficult and longer(Foreigners under developing Countries, meanly Latinos, for others disrupted and humiliated (Middle Eastern, Mexicans,Indians) for others Closed,(Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgenders.

This article for some will be controversial but let's put aside emotions and let's view the Human sideand the dysfunctional of the Immigration system.

Facts about the visa and immigration system and how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people fit into it—or do not.

Most U.S. citizens know nothing about what foreign nationals face to enter or stay in the United States. “People don’t realize the implications” of the immigration process, says Nathalie Fuz, a French national living in New York with her U.S. partner Kelly McGowan. Nathalie, who owns two retail stores in the city, is able to stay, temporarily, on an employment visa. However, she says, “Unless they’re within a binational relationship, nobody understands it. Not just the mainstream, but within our community”—the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. “Yet daily incidents remind you that you don’t have rights, not only as someone gay, but as a binational couple.

Yet, says Barbara, who lives in Massachusetts with her U.K. partner Susan, “When it’s your life, you’re researching it constantly, researching always, because it’s very hard to keep up with all of the current information.” Rafael Jaen, a Venezuelan and an internationally known costume designer, has an O-1 (outstanding ability) visa letting him stay in the U.S. with his partner of ten years, Stephen Brady. He says, “My whole life is organized around my visa status and everything I need to do to keep the visa.”

The unequal treatment of lesbian and gay partnerships is only one among many interlinked inequities riddling the immigration system. Marta Donayre, co-founder of Love Sees No Borders, a group for binational gay and lesbian couples, points out:

Women have a harder time coming to the country. To get a tourist visa, you have to prove that you have ties back home. Women are less likely to have bank accounts or own property, so it is harder for them to qualify. Third World status makes it far more difficult as well—which is about race and also is about economics: so in immigration policy, you clearly see the intersection of race, gender and class at work.

The system is both extremely complex and pitched towards the estrangement of couples. We ask readers to try an experiment in the ensuing pages. Whoever you may be, imagine this: you are a U.S. citizen who, traveling abroad, has met someone—the love of your life. You share dreams and ambitions—and the same sex. What you don’t share is citizenship; he or she is not from the United States. You have gone home after a period together overseas; but the two of you plan to be reunited, as soon as your partner can join you in the U.S.

This may actually be your story, in which case the coming pages may ring true. If it is not, you may learn some unexpected facts

Here is the first problem. “Family reunification” lies at the heart of the U.S. immigration system. U.S. citizens can sponsor family members—parents, spouses, children or siblings—for permanent immigration. About two-thirds of all immigrant visas are family-based. During a recent debate on immigration reform, one Republican congressman declared, “Prolonging the separation of spouses from each other … is inconsistent with the principles on which this nation was founded.”

The family reunification system is flawed—limited in reach and plagued by backlogs which suspend some family members (especially sisters and brothers) in indefinite delay. For you, though, it is irrelevant. Your partnership—your family—does not count at all. Current U.S. law, particularly the Defense of Marriage Act, forbids recognizing same-sex permanent partners as “spouses” or family members for immigration purposes. The “heart of the system” suddenly seems heartless.

The denial is particularly galling when you learn about what is called a “fiancĂ©(e) visa.” The K-1 visa allows the intended spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. for ninety days, to marry him or her and then apply for permanent residence. The U.S. citizen must simply show that he and his (or her) partner:

have met in person at least once in the last two years (exceptions are possible),
have a bona fide intention to marry, and
are “legally able and actually willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States” within ninety days after the partner gets there

Obviously, lesbian and gay couples are not eligible for K visas because of the “valid marriage” criterion. Even if they have a “bona fide intention to marry,” their marriage will not be recognized by U.S. law. You also realize the only requirement imposed on opposite-sex couples in your situation is that they intend to marry and have met once in person. You and your lover might have lived together for decades, or even married in countries where it is legal; it would make no difference.

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