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You Are Here: Home» Lesbian Discrimination , Lesbian Family Rights , Lesbian News » Lesbian Mom Fights Deportation to Stay With Her Family

Shirley Tan (right) with her family.Shirley Tan's days in the United States are numbered, and April 22nd is the dreaded day.

Shirley is a lesbian mom who fled to the U.S. from the Philippines in fear for her life after a family member attempted to murder her, and murdered other members of her family, because of a dispute over her grandfathers estate. Shirley took the proper steps to gain political asylum when she came to this country, and since she had not been notified that she should do otherwise, she built a life for herself in this country.

Twenty three years later, Shirley Tan is living with her domestic partner Jaylynn "Jay" Mercado and their two twin boys; plus a looming deportation case - effectively bringing the fight for rights of bi national LGBT couples to the forefront.

Shirley Tan was arrested and initially ordered to be deported on April 3rd. The family prepared themselves as best they could, with Tan wearing an ankle bracelet to monitor her while they awaited her deportation. After U.S Representative Jackie Speier intervened on her behalf, Tan’s deportation has been delayed until April 22.
Listen KCBS' Chris Filippi reports: Pacifica Domestic Partners Get Temporary Reprieve
The stark reality is that if Shirley and Jaylynn's relationship were federally recognized, Mercado could have sponsored her spouse for permanent residency long ago. 

The couple believe that if Jaylynn were a man, this situation would not be happening to them. The couple's attorney says the government often overlooks immigration violations for heterosexual couples with children. The Uniting American Families Act, currently in committee in the U.S. House and Senate, could aid families in the same predicament as Tan and Mercado.

Unfortunately, at this moment there are no such protections for this lesbian couple and their children, and the family is currently bracing themselves for the worst case scenario - moving the entire family to the Philippines where her family's killer has already been released, until their sons are 21 years old so they can sponsor her to return to the U.S.
Many organizations have come to the support of Shirley Tan and her family, such as the ACLU and GLAAD.

One such organization leading the fight for the couple is Immigration Equality. According to Immigration Equality executive director Rachel Tiven, the situation Tan and her partner are facing is not unique. "An American citizen like Jay Mercado is losing her family, having the person that she loves most in the world, the mother of her children, the caretaker of her elderly mother, being ripped from her, all because they're a lesbian couple," claimed Tiven.

LezGetReal.com is fighting for this couple as well, reaching out to their contacts and spreading the word as well.

If you would like to help the fight to keep lesbian mom Shirley Tan in the country with her wife and children, GLAAD is partnering with Immigration Equality to bring widespread media coverage to this issue. You can spread the word by forwarding this post to your social networks, or if you have a website or other media outlet, please consider covering this issue before April 22nd.

About the Author: Julie Phineas is a work at home mom of 2 who lives in Southern California. You can find out more about her by visiting her website at www.juliephineas.com.


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