Big Difference in Immigration Plans: Gay Couples

Obama to reveal his proposal today, and same-sex couples will be mentioned
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2013 4:41 AM CST
Updated Jan 29, 2013 6:41 AM CST
Immigration Deal a Tough Sell for GOP
Immigration reform activists hold a sign in front of Freedom Tower in downtown Miami yesterday.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

(Newser) – Today's big immigration news will come straight from the president's mouth. Barack Obama will set out his own immigration reform plan in Las Vegas today, and it will offer more specifics than his 2011 immigration "blueprint" did. But his intention is not to put forth an actual bill—so long as the Senate keeps making progress on its version, Politico reports. But that approach isn't as pitfall-free as it sounds:

  • The Senate group and Obama already disagree on a few points, like linking the granting of citizenship to tougher border enforcement, which Obama believes would establish a state of limbo for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.
  • A likely big fight: While the Senate plan made no mention of same-sex bi-national couples, Obama will address this population today, reports Buzzfeed. It spoke with sources who said some of the Senate Democrats involved actually alerted LGBT leaders to the omission on Sunday, which they explained as necessary for securing bipartisan backing. Chuck Schumer reportedly said same-sex couples—who, even when married under state law, cannot obtain green cards for the foreign partner—could be written into the legislation as the process moves forward.
  • Real Clear Politics reports that Obama's overall role will be as "cheerleader," pushing the public to push their members of Congress to act. But he doesn't want a lot of individual measures; rather, he's expected to call for a single bill.
  • And while the Senate's bipartisan deal has won cautious praise from the White House, it will be much tougher to sell it to Republican voters and many GOP lawmakers, the New York Times finds. Conservatives in the House have made it clear they are opposed to anything resembling amnesty, and John Boehner has remained noncommittal on the proposal.
  • "When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs, and encourages more illegal immigration," says Rep. Lamar Smith, a key Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.
(Read more immigration stories.)

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