Gay, lesbian group lends support to lawsuit against Utah's illegal immigration enforcement law

Published: Thursday, June 2 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A national group representing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive individuals has filed a court brief opposing Utah's new illegal immigration enforcement law.

Immigration Equality contends HB497 could place binational LBGT families in legal jeopardy under a provision that makes it illegal to "harbor" and "shelter" undocumented people.

“Utah’s unconscionable new immigration law actually criminalizes sharing a home with an undocumented person, even if that person is a partner or spouse,” said Victoria Neilson, the group’s legal director. “No one should be arrested for sharing their home with the person they love, but that is the very real possibility presented by this law."

The ACLU of Utah and the National Immigration Law Center filed a lawsuit last month to stop HB497, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in March, from becoming law. A federal judge put it on hold pending the outcome of further arguments in the case.

New York-based Immigration Equality’s amicus or friend-of-the court brief mentions an unidentified Utah couple's concerns about the law taking effect. The U.S. citizen, a lifelong Utahn and a social worker, is considering leaving the state because his partner of two years, who received training to become a doctor, overstayed his visa.

Dennis Romboy, Twitter: dennisromboy

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