For 23 years, Shirley Tan has raised twelve-year old twins in a California suburb. She lives with her partner in a peaceful community, singing in the church choir and caring for her mother-in-law. About her mostly heterosexual community, Tan says that her sons’ classmates “know they have two moms, and it has never been an issue.”
On January 28, 2009, at 6:30 a.m., immigration officers broke into Tan’s home to deport her. The Filipina woman was hand-cuffed, searched, and loaded into a van before being returned to her partner with an ankle-bracelet and an impending deportation order. As Tan relates her story to a Senate sub-committee, Tan and her son (seated behind her) become increasingly emotional. It’s heart-breaking to watch.
The Uniting American Families Act addresses inequality in federal immigration law. Where a heterosexual couple would be protected from this deportation because of a heterosexual marriage, this option is, obviously, not available to gay and lesbian couples. Tan faces deportation to the Philippines after twenty-three years in the United States. Towleroad and The New York Times both offered reports on the proposed act. Click here to learn more or donate.