NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – In a new column for The Washington Post, an opinion writer claims “Louisiana isn’t letting immigrants get married,” claiming the alleged move is part of the “country’s latest wave of nativism,” despite not having evidence to back up that broad-based accusation.
Catherine Rampell of The Washington Post writes that in an effort to prevent illegal immigration in Louisiana is preventing lawful newcomers from receiving a marriage license:
Here, a little-noticed new state law has effectively made it illegal for thousands of refugees to get married.
It all started last year. Having lost the fight over gay marriage, the state’s religious right decided that the sacred institution of wedlock was once again under attack — this time, by devious immigrants. Undocumented workers and even terrorists had newly discovered they could exploit Louisiana’s marriage laws to gain citizenship, legislators claimed, leading to a supposed epidemic of “marriage fraud.”
The response? Make it more difficult for immigrants to get married, of course.
So, as of this year, any foreign-born person wanting to get married in Louisiana must produce both an unexpired visa (even though a federal court has ruled that marriage licenses cannot be denied based on immigration status), as well as, somewhat inexplicably, a birth certificate.
The Washington Post columnist admits the “law has indeed placed marriage off-limits to immigrants in the country illegally,” as it was designed to, but goes on to say that refugees are adversely impacted as well.
Louisiana resident Out Xanamane, the columnist notes, is one of many apparently who could not get married in the state because he did not have a birth certificate, citing his arrival in the 1980s from Savannakhet, Laos.
Xanamane went to Alabama to get married, as The Washington Post columnist writes, “It’s not clear whether the champions of the Louisiana law intended to make marriage less accessible.”
The columnist says the law is an “anti-immigrant” reaction, though it is successfully keeping illegal immigrants from taking advantage of state marriage laws to anchor themselves locally.
Louisiana State Rep. Valerie Hodges (R-LA) proposed the legislation, not to target refugees and immigrants, but to incentivize would-be illegal immigrants to pursue the naturalization process.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.