Louisiana Illegally Blocking Immigrants from Marrying

Law attacks the basis of family life.

This year a new law went into effect in Louisiana requiring foreign-born people seeking marriage licenses to produce both an unexpired visa and a birth certificate. These were new requirements.

The demand for a visa is illegal. The Federal Courts have already ruled that marriage licenses cannot be denied to undocumented immigrants, but we can’t expect the virulently anti-immigrant conservatives in that state to know that.

Marriage to a United States citizen is one of the leading ways an undocumented immigrant can legalize his or her immigration status. Our immigration law is built around family unity, and denying marriage licenses to undocumented immigrants is intended to defeat this central principle of the immigration laws. This new law also denies United States citizens the right to marry whomever they choose.

This anti-immigrant law was passed soon after same-sex marriages were legalized by the Supreme Court. The same fake “Christian” organizations that opposed LGBT marriages were behind this new attack on marriages between citizens and the undocumented. The fact that the burden falls mainly on non-white people has not been lost on immigrant communities.

The law is just an unconstitutional attempt to institutionalize the same sort of bigotry that was once used to ban marriages between blacks and whites in Louisiana.

The Washington Post reports that the impact of the law has gone well beyond the Undocumented:

it’s hurt plenty of legal immigrants, too. Louisiana is home to thousands of refugees, predominantly Vietnamese and Laotians who received asylum in the 1970s and 1980s after fleeing war and communism in their homelands.

Today these Louisianans often have green cards and even U.S. citizenship, but no access to their original birth documents, if such documents even exist.

So-called “pro-family” groups like the Louisiana Family Forum, an affiliate of the SPLC Hate Group Focus on the Family, lobbied hard to make it tough for immigrants and refugees to marry the spouses of their choice. They have now forced coupes that want to marry to live together without a wedding. How is that pro-family?


Previous articleL.I. Immigrants Excited to Vote in This Election
Next articleFree English Class Openings In Suffolk
Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.