02/16/2013 04:15 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Reuniting Families Act, Mike Honda's Proposal, Would Grant Immigration Opportunities To Gay Couples

Adding another immigration proposal to the debate in Congress, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, has introduced a bill that would grant same-sex couples the same opportunities as others to sponsor a foreign-born spouse for a visa.

Honda's Reuniting Families Act is an update to a bill he introduced in the last Congress, but this year it comes as lawmakers are seriously considering major immigration reform.

His bid Thursday to end immigration law bias against same-sex families mirrors a similar, bipartisan bill in the Senate, the United American Families Act, reintroduced Wednesday by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Honda's proposal also would lessen other restrictions on family-based immigration. It would reduce the backlog of immigrant spouses and children by exempting them from numerical caps on family immigration. It would also set a 10-year maximum on having to wait for a green card.

"Our family-based immigration system has not been updated in 20 years, separating spouses, children and their parents, who have played by the rules for years," Honda said in a news release.

President Barack Obama has endorsed granting equal immigration benefits to same-sex couples, but Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said last month that injecting social issues into comprehensive immigration reform "is the best way to derail it." ___



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