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Elected representatives from both the city and federal level took to a small stage in Manhattan's West Village to demand equality for undocumented lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velázquez, both primarily based in Brooklyn, stopped by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center to demand that the federal government give LGBT couples the same protections as heterosexuals.
They were joined by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu, as well as Council members Daniel Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer, Letitia James and Melissa Mark-Viverito.
"While there remains a bumpy road ahead," Velázquez said, "it has become clear that the political stars are aligning in favor of finally addressing this critical social justice issue."
Velázquez also saluted Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, which elicited a wave of applause from the audience. Portman announced his support on Friday for gay marriage after he revealed his son is gay. Velázquez said that while she and Portman don't agree on many issues, Republicans like Portman could prove instrumental to recognizing LGBT immigrants during Senate discussions on reform.
The New York City Immigration Coalition may have its work cut out for itself this year: Its 10-point agenda is ambitious and will require action from Albany as well as cooperation from law enforcement.
The groups top policy priority is expanding access to college by passing New York State's version of the DREAM Act. The State's DREAM act which is backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn would open up tuition assistance to students regardless of their immigration status.
Despite massive grassroots pressure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not make the DREAM legislation a part of his State of the State Speech in January. The Democratic-controlled Assembly has passed a version of the DREAM Act in the past and seems poised to do so again.
The Senate is a different story. The breakaway Independent Democratic Conference has indicated major support for the legislation but Senate Republicans have generally been opposed to the measure and have prevented floor votes. To add to the difficulty advocates face, it is unclear how many in the Democratic conference actually support the legislation.
Democratic Sen. Joe Addabbo said at a debate in October that he felt his constituents had a hard enough time finding money sending their children to college so he could not support the DREAM Act. His Republican opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich, said at the time that he supported "some version" of the legislation.