By Melanie Nathan
Today Senator Feinstein introduced a very rare private bill on behalf of Shirley Tan; Shirley will not have to leave the USA for now and hopefully never. The essence of its introduction is that Tan does not have to leave the USA on May 10th, in terms of the voluntary order issued by DHS. This enables her to stay in the USA, legally, until the private bill passes ( a rare occurrence)- and if it does not come up for a vote then she can stay for the duration of this Congress’s session, which has approximately a year and nine months left. However Shirleys ultimate saviour will be UAFA and nothing else!
This is unbelievably miraculous and indeed an extraordinary measure on behalf of the family. This also gives all our wonderful activists, LGBT organizations, and community suporters and opportunity to hit the streets, the phones, the faxes, the e-mails, the blogs etc. and to fight like crazy for the Uniting American families ACT (UAFA) - in truth the only real long term option for Shirley and the 40,000 other couples/families in this dire situation.
Hence the fight has truly just begun. We now have a face and a family to the desperate situation of all Binational families.
A great big thanks from the Tan-Mercado family to Rep. Speier and her amazing staff as well as Sen. Feinstein and her staff, all of whom showed extraordinary solicitude and diligence through the process. A special mention to the organizations that provided guidance and support; Marriage Equality, Immigration Equality, Out4 Immigration, Love Exiles and all the Media that remained so patient and supportive.
Senator Boxer is co- sponsoring UAFA and we now hope that Sen. Feinstein will do the same as many many others are in as bad a predicament as Shirley Tan has been.
When I spoke to Jay today she was crying with joy and said the whole family including the boys were absolutely overwhelmed with emotion. The news was conveyed to her directly by Senator Feinstein’s office. It has been a long and arduous process and so a very special thank you goes to Attorney Phyllis Beech, San Francisco and Fresno. I will write more later - but now I have to call and tell everyone the good news.
A great big thanks to all the offersof support and help - please join the fight for UAFA as there are many couples suffering the lack of rights. A special thanks to the straight Felipino Organizations andmainstream Press who came forward and recognized the impotance of family and offered all out unconditional support for Shirley and Jay.