A few days ago, I stood at the steps of the Supreme Court and shared my story as a queer immigrant in the U.S. Thinking back, the most beautiful moment for me was when my husband said, "I'm an immigrant so I want to share my story in Spanish."
People get married for many different reasons, and for me, Isabel stole my heart the day he promised to fight for justice alongside me for the rest of our lives. Anyone who knows me well will quickly remind you that I'm a "more than marriage" kind of guy. My own personal experiences lead me to believe that LGBTQ people need more than state recognition of our relationships to thrive.
Let me be clear, I want to know that Isabel will be able to hold my hand in a hospital when my time to leave this world comes.
I want to know that our future children will have legal rights which protect them from discrimination. I am honored to have participated in such a historic moment for our movement. I'm so glad we will hopefully turn this page in our struggle, and we are committed to a continued fight for full equality.
Our fight for full federal equality will only be finished when we can finally have equal access to health, the end of deportations for immigrant LGTBQ individuals, and real answers for situations like the one unfolding in Baltimore, and in other parts across the country. As an immigrant who also identifies as LGBTQ, this moment is bittersweet, and the court system is finally about to make a decision on marriage equality and hopefully acknowledging my personal 14th amendment rights to equal protection. Yet the same court system has stalled President Obama's programs on immigration that will protect millions of people from deportation, including an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and a similar program that will protect parents of permanent residents and U.S. citizens.
Everyday I wake up and I quickly look at my phone full of worry for family and friends. Were they apprehended by law enforcement? Did something bad happen? While the courts have stalled progress for undocumented people, the other parts of the executive action related to immigration enforcement were not. As a matter of fact, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is using old tactics such as home raids and family detention, tactics that terrorize immigrant communities. Family detention centers have expanded, meaning that the U.S. is again detaining children and their parents. United We Dream's work in places like Homestead, Fla. shows that DHS is doing raids near schools and churches.
Immigration enforcement impacts thousands of LGBTQ immigrants everyday. Even though the marriage equality cases will finally allow us to progress on this issue, it's time for LGBTQ people and our allies to fight for issues impacting the lives of people of color. Immigration is an important issue for many of us. I can't honestly say that I'll ever find true liberation until I can wake up in the morning without worrying that I'll lose someone to deportation.