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Immigration Equality announces 501(c)4 action fund

Immigration Equality, a non-profit advocacy and legal aid organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and HIV-positive immigrants and their families, announced today that it has established a “501(c)4” entity, the Immigration Equality Action Fund, to significantly increase its federal advocacy and grassroots organizing work. The Action Fund’s launch also includes an expanded office in Washington, D.C., where a new policy staffer and an online grassroots organizer will soon join the organization.

“The launch of the Immigration Equality Action Fund comes at a critical moment in our work to advocate on behalf of LGBT immigrant families,” said Rachel B. Tiven, the organization’s executive director. “As Congress turns its attention to comprehensive immigration reform, and as a record number of lawmakers signal their support for the Uniting American Families Act and other LGBT-inclusive immigration bills, it is essential that we step up our efforts on Capitol Hill and in key Congressional districts across the country. The Immigration Equality Action Fund will allow us to do just that, and will give the families we fight for a more visible voice in Washington.”

The launch of the Action Fund was announced during a conference call with Immigration Equality supporters yesterday. The new “501(c)4” entity will have virtually unlimited lobbying capacity and will focus on building support for LGBT-inclusive immigration reform legislation, including a large, omnibus bill expected in early 2010. Currently, nearly 150 lawmakers have co-sponsored immigration legislation that includes LGBT families. An estimated 36,000 LGBT binational families are either facing separation, or are already separated, because of discriminatory immigration laws.

“In addition to adding two new key staff positions in our Washington office,” Tiven said, “the Action Fund website, which will launch in early 2010, will greatly increase our grassroots outreach and organizing, and set the stage for important legislative progress.”

“The Immigration Equality Action Fund,” Tiven concluded, “represents our commitment to fully engaging every constituency, and seizing every opportunity, to end discrimination against our families.”