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    February 15, 2010

    Will you help me and my Valentine?

    Posted by: Chris

    Shirley tan jay mercado immigration equality gay binational couples

    "We heard a knock at the door. I was still asleep when they came in."

    "They picked my mom up. They put her in handcuffs, and they put her in a van. We kept on asking questions.

    "Why is this happening to our family?"

    Watch how Shirley Tan's twin sons describe the morning that U.S. immigration police came to the Pacifica, Calif., home she shares with Jay Mercado, her American partner of 23 years:

    Because they are both women, Jay cannot sponsor Shirley for citizenship the way that heterosexual Americans can sponsor their spouses, whether their relationship is long-term or the sight-unseen, mail order variety.

    Shirley and Jay and their family tell the story as part of a new documentary from Immigration Equality, released on Valentine's Day to illustrate the plight of an estimated 36,000 binational couples, including my own. We shared tears, not kisses, on V-Day yesterday, and our conversation was over Skype, not a candlelit table.

    For me and my partner, and for the tens of thousands of couples like us, please take a few minutes to watch this brief excerpt, then visit the new Immigration Equality Action Fund website and find out what you can do to help.

    (Photo of Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado and their twin sons via San Francisco Chronicle).



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