We get communications from same-sex, binational couples about three times a week. These couples usually have run out of visa options and are having their family torn apart.
Here are sample correspondence that typify the communication we receive. They have been edited for grammar clarity, and anonymity.
There currently is no process that allows a same-sex partner to sponsor a partner for immigration to the U.S.
Correspondence from Binational Couples
Australia-U.S. male couple
Iceland-U.S. female couple
You see at the moment, my man lives in Indiana.
He left on Saturday to go back home :(
Now the thing is, I need to get to the states so we can live together, grow old together. You know I have broke down in tears several times since he left. It’s like the most important part of me has been ripped out and removed from my life forever. It hurts.
I went to the U.S. last year to meet him, and we are the same person. We think, act, everything we do, we do together.
Anyway, I am sure you are sick of my prattling on. Is it possible for me to gain residency in the states via permanent partner status? I hold all other qualifications except the possibility of marriage. I can still smell him on my clothes. Damn, I can’t stop can I?
I’m sorry I am sure you have had enough emails already, I just don’t know who to turn to.
It makes me very upset that I have had to leave America in order to be with my lesbian lover. I am an American citizen, and, for the past two years, have lived in Iceland. I miss my family, my dog, friends, and a very good job. All because of discrimination against same-sex marriage.
South Africa-U.S. male couple
It is really sad to say, that America is so prejudiced. We fight all over the world for human rights, but we are being denied same-sex marriage, and can’t petition for our same-sex partner. Why do we allow asylum, and refugees, but not same-sex partners permission to stay in America? I hope someday, I can go back to the land I call home — home of the free. God bless all lesbians and gay men.
I am writing to you in desperation. My life partner lives in Kansas, and, for several months, we have been trying to find a way for me to move over to be with him. First we tried to find a way to get an immigration visa and, after spending a small fortune on immigration lawyers, we are now trying to get a visitor’s visa.
Japan-U.S. male couple
That would get me to him, but what then? It would only be temporary, and we are desperate to be together permanently. We decided to get a Civil Union in Vermont, but that has no merit in the eyes of the Immigration Service.
We are desperate and are getting very despondent. Can you give us any advice or help in this regard? We would really appreciate any thing that can help us. Would forever be in your debt for any assistance. Thanking you.
China-U.S. male couple
We want to marry, and we want to join in together as soon as possible. But the wall of immigration law is too much big for us. We really need somebody’s help.
Why can’t I get my life partner here with me in America? Stupid right wing, religious zealots, keeping us apart? Laws on immigration that are antiquated, and lost on the hearts of men. Our hearts are torn daily, our souls crushed because we are in love.
I am a gay American man living in China. I have been living here for almost two years. My lover, who is Chinese, and I want to get married.
Peru-U.S. female couple
Currently, I am in the U.S. on a Tourist Visa, and we have plans to get legally married in Ontario. We know the immigration laws are very strict, to say the least, and are aware of how hard it will be for us to be together, but we also hope that, somehow, being married will be beneficial for our situation. Are there any other options that could help us?
Panama-U.S. male couple
How can we remain together in the U.S. without fear of my deportation to Peru? Most importantly, how can we have a normal life, working and studying as a regular people?
I am desperate for help. In 2001, we met and fell hard for each other. He had to return to Panama to go back to work, but because of 9/11, he was let go, and no longer had a job. Months went by, and he returned, spending two weeks with me. He went back to Panama, and later came back for a six-month stay.
French-U.S. male couple
When he had to leave, my family was sick on his departure, but he wished to keep his immigration status in good standing. When he tried to reenter the states to be with me again, an immigration officer drilled him with lots of questions and false accusations. He was sent back to Panama.
I sat in the airport waiting. He never showed up. I was frantic.
Back home on the phone, we were both in tears over what had happened. The Immigration officer had said he spent “too much time” in the states. My partner said he had met me and my family, who have been very nice to him. She mixed up my name with someone else in their data base, and accused him of being illegally employed, and invalidated his Visa. The reality is that I do very well and have supported us financially.
I have since been to Panama to visit him, but it was very hard to leave him. I have never been through such a terrible thing as to leave someone I love behind.
The embassy had no real answers. Our only hope is passage of the Nadler Bill, and I hope that it will help bring him here legally. We talk everyday by e-mail or phone. We are struggling to keep ourselves sane over this, it is so tough.
What can I do? Is there any hope? Day-to-day life is hard. But I feel we must go on. I just wish this Immigration officer would have made one phone call so I could have explained. He was afraid to say that we are in an intimate relationship, for fear that might make matters worse.
My French boyfriend and I have been a couple for three years. We lived together for 17 months, parted for about six months, then lived together again for about a year, this time overstaying his visa. We just parted and are both devastated feeling we have no place in the world we can be together.
Pakistan-U.S. male couple
My partner is a Pakistani, I am an American living in Pennsylvania. I was born here. I am not Asian. I am a veteran. My partner and I want to live together either here or in Canada.
United Kingdom-U.S. male couple
My partner lost his job and is in dire straits. There is about 50 percent unemployment in Pakistan. I fear my partner will die of malnutrition. The money I send helps, but is not really enough.
According to your Immigration Roundup article, Canada accepts partners who are citizens of different countries. I fear the U.S. will not allow my partner to immigrate.
I am a U.S. citizen, but have been living in the United Kingdom since 1971. In 1997 I met my partner, a British citizen, and we have been together ever since. I feel that it is time for me to move back to the U.S. John also wishes to move with me, but as U.K. citizen, under current U.S. laws (i.e. no recognition of same-sex partners), he has no hope in hell of obtaining any kind of residency permit.
Mexico-U.S. male couple
John is 51, and will retire at 60. At that time, we had hoped to move to America. John has no plans to work. However, according to the U.S. embassy in London, the U.S. doesn’t allow people to live in the U.S. even if they have no intention of working. I am 36, and we have enough financial strength to support us in the U.S. without any kind of governmental help.
We really don’t know where to turn. Of course, laws could change in the next eight years, but that seems unlikely.
We fly between the U.K. and U.S. several times a year, at great expense, just to stay together, but we just don’t know how to make it a permanent arrangement — other than for him to change his name to Gerard Depardieu and star in “Green Card 2 - The Sequel.”
I live in the U.S., and my partner is from Mexico. We have been trying to find him work in the U.S. so we can build our lives together. We have been a couple for almost four years. We feel we are beating our heads against a brick wall. We are both willing to migrate to a country that would accept us both.
Japan-U.S. male couple
My (Japanese) partner and I have been together seven years. Well, we are desperate to find a way for him to live here legally.
French-U.S. male couple
I am 41 and a U.S. citizen. My partner is 70, retired, and a French citizen. We have been together since March 1993.
United Kingdom-U.S. female couple
Our main goal is to be together permanently. We would prefer that I obtain permission to work in France, and move there. Our second choice would be for him to gain permanent status here.
Each time he enters the U.S. they stamp an arbitrary 3 or 6 month stay on his passport. We usually need to spend a day at the Immigration Service hoping to have the date pushed out, or he must go to France and returns later. Given his age, the day is coming when he will no longer be able to travel as he does now. We are hoping to have started some sort of process before he is forced to leave again.
We are in a committed relationship. I am British, she is American, and I would like to remain in the U.S. and work here with her. In the U.K., a citizen can sponsor their same-sex partner. After many weeks of searching, I have been unable to find anything like that in the U.S. Does this exist here?
Taiwan-U.S. male couple
I am 37, Taiwanese, and my boyfriend is 48, an American citizen. We had planed to move to Taiwan due to unreasonable immigration law for gay couples. But my boyfriend must remain in the U.S. at least two years to receive his pension. So we need to figure a way for us to live together in U.S. for two years first.
Pakistan-U.S. female couple
We really hope we can be together now and in the future. We can’t be apart for any amount of time, and are trying whatever we can that will allow us to stay together.
I am a U.S. citizen. While in Pakistan doing business, I fell in Love, and have been with my life partner for the last eight years.
Brazil-U.S. female couple
I have stayed in Pakistan because of the U.S. immigration policy. There is no way for him to legally obtain a U.S. visa. As the political situation here has continually declined over the last years, and the general population very anti-American due to our foreign policy, it has become increasingly uncomfortable and dangerous for us here.
The random killing and kidnapping of U.S. citizens, bombings at our consulates, and offices of private business, has made me increasingly afraid to stay here. After last September 2002, the situation has become very volatile and I am not sure what to do.
I will not leave Pakistan without my partner, and any guidance you may suggest is a welcome relief.
I cry so often — it hurts so much — to think that some law against love can take her away from me. I am 44 years old, and know that she is the most important person EVER to come into my life. Reading your immigration bill editorial gave me hope.
Armenia-U.S. female couple
My visa status is becoming a barrier between us and might separate us from each other. Is there anything we can do?
New Zealand-U.S. female couple
I am very much in love with a woman from New Zealand. New Zealand would allow us to move and live there in peace. However, I am not allowed to remove my son from the U.S. I feel that my rights as an American are being stripped. My wife could be deported at any time, and we are living off my small income.
Mexico-U.S. male couple
After my partner’s passport was stolen, and he could not get back into Mexico, we decided to move to Canada and start again.
Croatian-U.S. male couple
Right now we are separate again, he is in the U.S. searching for a job and I am staying at a friend’s house in Canada. Even though I have proof of owning property in Mexico, I was denied a visa in a less than five-minute interview.
At this point, I don’t know what else to do. It is not funny to be separate from my lover. A few days ago he got sick because of the stress. We just want to be together again, and continue with our lives.
I met a fellow this summer in Europe. It was love at first sight. Unfortunately, because of the
discrimination against us gay folks, I know of no way that he can legally come to live with me. Do you know any way that he could legally join me, at least as my domestic partner?
Canadian-Mexican male couple
I have been with my partner for two-and-a-half years, having lived together for two years. We reside in Alberta. We are trying to get him citizenship through the same-sex sponsorship program. We have had the paperwork in process for almost two years, and keep getting the run around. We thought that since we can get married in Vancouver, we would take a vacation to Vancouver and have a romantic honeymoon. Would that affect his citizenship? Would he become a citizen since we would be legally married? Would our marriage license hold up in the redneck province of Alberta where being gay is still wrong? We are ready to give up and see if it would be easier to get my citizenship for Mexico and just move.
[Editorial note: While the Canadian same-sex immigration sponsorship program should have worked, we have frequently heard of very long delays — three years or more is not unusual. Since this was written, legal marriage have become available throughout Canada. If one partner is Canadian, or a permanent resident, the married partner would be allowed to apply the marriage toward Canadian immigration status.]
My lover is an american citizen but I myself is not. We’ve been living here in Iceland. We are legally registered partners since 2001. I cannot legally live in the USA. Could you please advise me on how I can do so?
Turkey-U.S. female couple
My partner is a Turkish national who is filing for political asylum in the United States. We are fearful the plea for asylum may be denied since she was in the closet and not aware of her right to file for asylum in the United States, and thus missed the one-year filing deadline. Turkish societal conditions are very harsh, and punishing for gay men and lesbians. Turkey is well know for its normal practices of persecution and torture. Anyone in Turkey can be arrested if
they are seen, or suspected of, violating “Turkish moral codes.”
Peru-U.S. male couple
I am in love with a Peruvian man. We intend to emmigrate to Canada as soon as it can be arranged.
Romania-U.S. male couple
My boyfriend and I have been dating for six months, and we are very happy together. He is from Romania and here on a work visa. His job lied to him and the others from Romania. The employer had told them that they had applied for green cards for the Romanians when they had not. When my boyfriend found out about this, he asked the president of the company who got real upset with him. The president told him never to question him, and that he could have him on the first plane back to Romania. He is very scared that when his supervisor returns to work, and learns of his talk with the predident, that he will be fired.
Mexico-U.S. male couple
What can be done so that he can stay here? I know that the we cannot get legally married so he could apply for immigration. Do you have any ideas? I’m going nuts here. I love him so much and I would hate for him to have to leave.
We both live in Mexico. I was born in the U.S., he is Mexican. We want to get married this
year, preferably in August. How can we get legally married? We need to do this because we want the same rights as married couples. I need to know that if either of us gets sick, that we can make decisions of health care, hospitalization, etc.
Serbia-Serbia female couple
I’m a Serbian graduate student in Illinois with 3 more years until I get my Ph.D. The girl I want to spend my life can not be here with me. It’s too painful to be apart for so long. She tried to visit, but they declined her a tourist visa. She never got an interview with a consul since a Serbian embassy clerk immediately dismissed her application when he saw that she was invited by her partner. Straight people have no problem getting a tourist visa to visit their partners.
She applied to grad school here, however, could not get accepted. Now, we are desperate, and out of options.
Any other straight, foreign grad student can bring his or hers wife or husband here, but not me, a gay grad student. Sure, we are not married, but that’s only because they don’t allow it. I would have married her the minute I met her.
We can’t be apart for 3 more years, and we are out of options. Well, not quite without options. I could quit school, go back home, work e.g. as a sales person. Astrophysicists are not in demand in Serbia. We would need to live secretly as a couple, hiding from everyone to avoid lynching. This email is our last hope.
Permanent Partners Immigration Act
U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) filed a bill (HR3650, since re-numbered to HR690) named “Permanent Partners Immigration Act of 2000” in 2000. It would allow a U.S. citizen with a same-sex foreign partner to sponsor their foreign partner for immigration. This same bill was re-introduced for 2001. As of September 2002, it has 100 co-sponsors, but did not get a committee hearing and hence cannot be voted upon.
The bill itself has what we believe to be a shortcoming. The bill’s first criteria for defining a “Permanent Partner” is that the couple be:
“in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual over 18 years of age in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment”
This is simply a statement of intent and asks that immigration officials take a couple’s word for their relationship. It does not have anything like the weight of legal marriage, which is denied to same-sex couples. This definition will be very easy to challenge because any two people can say they intend to stay together, not just real couples.
Presumably, the definition and other details would be changed if the bill was ever to get to committee.
At this time, the Nadler bill appears to be blocked by federal representatives and senators who are queasy about recognizing same-sex families, which they think might hurt their chances for re-election. And they are also afraid of being seen as soft on terrorist, who might be able to immigrate through such a bill.
The bill is also thwarted by lesbians and gay men who have not written to their reps in support of this bill.
It it very important for U.S. citizens to contact their representatives and tell them why this bill is so desperately needed.
Further note: While some have hope that the Nadler bill will allow same-sex couples to keep their family intact, there does not seem to be a snowball’s chance in congress as long as the Republicans control the presidency, house and senate.