Out4Immigration Joins Appeal for Emergency Bill to Stay Deportation of Same-Sex Partner of American Woman

Out4Immigration, along with Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), Love Exiles, Immigration Equality and numerous other organizations, attorneys, journalists and bloggers have taken up the case of Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado, a same-sex binational couple living in the Bay Area with twin 12-year-old sons.

Shirley, who experienced horrific violence in her native country many years ago, fled to the United States, seeking asylum. While she thought her asylum case was on track, she met and fell in love with an American woman. They had twins together and in 2004, when marriage was legal in San Francisco, they solidified their relationship. Unfortunately, Shirley’s attorney never communicated to her that her asylum case was rejected and that she was to leave the country several years earlier. Because she overstayed her legal time in the US, a deportation order was filed. Now, this Friday, April 3, Shirley must report to immigration authorities and she will be forcibly separated from her partner and two children — all American citizens.

Both the Advocate and the San Jose Mercury News have picked up this story. Numerous appeals are being made to the couples’ Congressperson Jackie Speier and Senator Dianne Feinstein.

While the couple would have benefited from the Uniting American Families Act if that law were in place, only an emergency bill to Congress or the Senate filed on or before April 3 can keep this family together in the United States.

Shirley and Jay and their sons are an extreme example of what happens when proper laws are not in place to protect all Americans. However, they are not the first couple to face such a horrific situation, and sadly, they may not be the last.

Just last week, Senator John Kerry [D-MA] appealed on behalf of an American man in Massachusetts who legally married a Brazilian man. Although the state of Massachusetts recognizes their relationship, the US federal government does not. As a result, the Brazilian man was deported due to the fact that his American spouse could not sponsor him for a green card after visa options ran out.

Please — call or write your Congressperson and Senators today to urge them to support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). [Click here for how to do this.]

The UAFA is simple legislation that will add three words to existing immigration law — “or permanent partner” wherever the word “spouse” appears. And, it will end the nightmare and fear some 36,000 American citizens face knowing that their government could forcibly separate them from the person they love.

Ghost Twittering

But you knew this already, didn’t you? There’s a cottage industry out there of people who ghost Twitter for the famous (and some sort of semi-important) folks.

Today’s New York Times lets you in on which celebs do their own Twittering (Shaquille O’Neal: “It’s 140 characters. It’s so few characters. If you need a ghostwriter for that, I feel sorry for you.”) and those who most likely probably don’t (Britney Spears). The jury remains out on “prolific” Twitter couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore — and note, I use the word “prolific” with Twitter gingerly here.

New media consultant Guy Kawasaki — if you’ve spent any time on Twitter you know who he, of the 80,000+ followers, is — uses not one, but two ghost Twitters. This is a revelation that isn’t exactly up there with the likes of finding out there is no Santa Claus…but still.

(Read more)

Obama Foodorama

Everywhere President Barack Obama (POTUS) and First Lady Michelle (FLOTUS) go, they bring change to the table. Literally. Their sensible eating habits — Michelle’s favorite food may be French fries (take that you Freedom fries freaks!) but she also spent last weekend planting a White House Kitchen Garden — are headline news.

Want to see the menu from the White House St. Patrick’s Day festivities? Want the family chili recipe? How ’bout a breakdown of how many food metaphors were used by the Prez in his recent interview with ’60 Minutes’? It’s all here at Obama Foodorama.

The Facebook Redesign…or, How to Scare Off 175 Million Customers

Look, I use Twitter. I almost “get” Twitter and I’ve even seen some results for my clients from the occasional Tweet that results in more followers and subsequent interest in their business. So, I kind of “get” what Facebook is doing with this latest redesign. They’re trying to be more like Twitter with the live updates. But what happens when you become more like Twitter is that you become less like Facebook. And, 175 million users can’t be wrong. They love Facebook. They weathered the redesign last fall because it improved their experience on the site, and sent many Facebook fans to tell their friends, “You gotta get on this thing!”

Until last week, Facebook was personal in a slightly impersonal way. We shared the good times — leaving work early, a first snowfall, what we were watching on TV and cooking for dinner — and the bad times — rotten day at work, sore throats, lost luggage. We didn’t care if someone commented on our status or not, or even saw it. Most likely they did and smiled or shrugged and then updated their own status to tell you they had beef stroganoff for dinner and how their aunt’s hip surgery went. This random personal impersonalness made you feel…oh, I don’t know…not so alone behind the keyboard. Life was happening somewhere, and you know what, if you thought about it hard enough, you had a life beyond the computer screen, too.

Twitter is impersonal — it’s a marketing tool. Sure, some people use it to “market” themselves and the impersonal crosses over to the personal. But on Twitter you probably not only don’t know who @beefstronganoff is, you also don’t care. Meanwhile, you may not be going on a trip anytime soon, but isn’t it good to know that when you do, @jetblue is posting fare deals, new routes and its followers will tell you where to get the best food at O’Hare if your flight is delayed.

Ok — I wasn’t going to write my own dissertation on the Facebook-redesign-to-be-more-like-Twitter controversy and why it’s going to drive users away from the site. But here’s a thought. Maybe 175 million users is too many too fast. Maybe they want to lose a few million. And, if that’s the strategy, then it probably will work.

For more about the Faceboook redesign “debacle”, click here to read it more simply put: ValleyWag’s “What Was Mark Zuckerberg Smoking When He Redesigned Facebook?”

City and County of San Francisco Support Passage of UAFA

The city and county of San Francisco has passed a resolution supporting the passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) by Congress. The UAFA would eliminate the barrier that same-sex binational couples now face when a gay or lesbian American tries to sponsor their foreign life partner for a green card and the right to stay together legally in the US. Opposite-sex binational couples have long been afforded such protections under US immigration law.

Amos Lim, a founding board member of Out4Immigration and a San Francisco resident was instrumental in getting this resolution passed, first by the Board of Supervisors and then by the Immigrant Rights Commission. The resolution makes San Francisco the first municipality to call for equal immigration rights for gays and lesbians at the federal level. It is only change at the federal level for any LGBT rights — including marriage — that will end discrimination in America and give all its citizens full access to their civil rights.

The San Francisco resolution will be forwarded to all San Francisco Representative including Speaker Pelosi and Senator Feinstein informing them that San Francisco supports the passage of the UAFA and that they should sponsor the bill and ensure its passage.

According to Lim, who has worked with the all-volunteer, grassroots Out4mmigration group since its inception in 2006, if you are interested in getting a similar resolution passed in your city or town, “It’s relatively easy…just contact your local representative’s (supervisor/councilperson’s) office and ask. Out4Immigration will to work with you to ensure its passage.” Contact Amos at amos@out4immigration.org to get this in motion.

Out4Immigration would like to thank Supervisor David Campos’ office, especially Sheila Hagen-Chung, for introducing the resolution at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting and Tomas Lee from the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs for assisting in getting the resolution to the Immigrant Rights Commission.

Thanks also must go to Martha McDevitt-Pugh of Love Exiles and Democrats Abroad for crafting the language and sharing it with Out4Immigration.

Become a member of Out4Immigration by signing up for its Yahoo! Groups listserv by clicking here or join its Facebook page by clicking here.

PHOTOS: Faces of H8

While my intention today was to take more photos of people out there fighting for equal rights for all Californians, I was taken aback by how many “Yes on 8” demonstrators had shown up outside the Supreme Court building to defend their choice to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry last November. I was hoping for a great shot like the one from last night (see below), but what I got instead was an entirely different perspective — one not generally seen in San Francisco. Click here to see what is becoming a Faces of H8 photo project. I’m still a bit stunned by what I encountered. I think the photos tell the story.

PHOTOS: Eve of Justice, San Francisco

Eve of Justice, San Francisco.

After a rally at Castro and Market Sts. a large crowd marched to City Hall on the eve of the California Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which let voters take away the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in California.

Speakers included Stuart Milk, nephew of slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk. Stuart told the crowd, “As Harvey would say, when you let the majority deprive the minority of their civil rights, you start a shopping list. Who is next?”

The hearing starts at 9 am this morning in San Francisco. If you’re in the city, come out and show your support outside the court house, 350 McAllister St. in the Civic Center. The proceedings will be broadcast live to the crowd on a JumboTron.

The hearing will also be broadcast online at www.calchannel.com and it will be shown on TV on the California Channel, which is carried on Comcast cable systems in the Bay Area. The channel number varies from city to city, so check local listings. In addition to the JumboTron at the Civic Center, there will also be public viewings in the Koret Auditorium in the San Francisco Main Library basement, 100 Larkin St.; in an auditorium at the State Building, 455 Golden Gate Ave.; and at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market St. (Read more)

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.