Support for Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (S. 424)

Letters to Congress

​​February 19, 2009

Honorable Patrick Leahy 
United States Senator 
433 Russell Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-4502 
Submitted via Electronic Mail 
Dear Senator Leahy:
On behalf of the American Council on International Personnel (ACIP), I am writing to thank you for introducing the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (S. 424). ACIP is a membership driven trade association dedicated to issues of global mobility. We represent 220 multi-national employer members who have presence in America and at least 500 employees worldwide. Our multi-national members employ millions of American citizens and foreign nationals in industries as widespread as U.S. high-tech, energy, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and biotechnology to private and public research and academic institutions. ACIP has been an expert in the immigration debate since 1972 and we annually sponsor seminars and produce publications aimed at educating human resource and legal professionals on compliance with immigration laws, while working with Congress and the Executive Branch to facilitate the movement of key international personnel. 
Allowing a citizen or lawful permanent resident to sponsor his or her “permanent partner” for legal permanent residence is a top priority for many of ACIP’s member organizations. During this recession, it is even more important that America remain a global leader in technology and innovation and that we are able to attract and retain the best talent from around the world. Our immigration policy and business practices must reflect America’s desire to welcome executives and highly educated professionals who can help us innovate and recover in the current economy. 
Many of ACIP’s member organizations presently extend the same employee benefits to permanent partners that spouses have enjoyed over the years. ACIP members have found this to be an important factor in their ability to bring in and retain some of their most valued professionals. However, our current immigration laws continue to be a deterrent, pushing away these valued workers, as our laws do not recognize long-term, committed relationships. Under current law permanent partners of foreign national executives and highly educated professionals are only able to come as temporary visitors, without the right to work or reside with their partners. The provisions of S. 424, if passed into law, would allow committed partners, who are unable to wed because of impediments in the laws of their respective countries, to unite, making America a more desired destination for these highly educated and sought after professionals. 
Finally, ACIP fully supports the provisions of S. 424, which makes permanent partnership fraud a deportable offense. As with any immigration benefit, integrity is key to the success of the program. For all the above listed reasons, ACIP supports the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (S 424). 
We are pleased to see the list of cosponsors already supporting the bill and we will work to help you add more cosponsors as this Congress progresses. 
Rebecca K. Peters 
Director and Counsel for Legislative Affairs ​



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