New Mom, Who Dis? Season 2, Episode 8
Andrew and Elad are proud parents of twin boys Adian and Ethan. And as twin parents, we have a lot in common – the only difference between us is that the Trump Administration is trying to strip their 3-year-old of American citizenship, simply because he has two dads.
Andrew and Elad came to New Mom, Who Dis? to share their story.
In 2010, when Andrew and Elad became engaged, they moved to Canada, where same-sex marriage was legal. Andrew is a citizen of the US and Elad is Israeli, but in Canada they could get married and start their own family. Andrew and Elad didn’t grow up seeing examples of gay parents like Nate Berkus or watching shows like Modern Family, so they figured having a family, as a gay couple, would have its challenges. They had no idea just how challenging it would be.
Through surrogacy, the couple welcomed twin boys, Adian and Ethan – Aiden with Andrew’s DNA and Ethan with Elad’s. After the twins were born, Andrew and Elad wanted to return home to the United States. However, they were told that only the biological child of Andrew would be granted US citizenship because Elad was an Israeli citizen and Ethan had his DNA.
Would a heterosexual couple have been given the same criteria? Unlikely. The woman in immigration said it was up to her discretion – but to Andrew and Elad, it was a clear case of discrimination.
Months later, Adian received his American citizenship and Ethan did not – despite being twins, living in the same household, with the same loving parents, at 3 years old, Ethan was to enter the US on a 6-month TOURIST visa, while his twin brother was a citizen. Ethan could face deportation at any time.
Eventually, Andrew and Elad were able to get their case in front of a judge with the help of Immigration Equality, an organization that helps LGBTQ people navigate immigration. The judge ruled in their favour….and then, the State Department under the Trump administration APPEALED it. Meaning a judge granted Ethan citizenship and the Trump administration denied it. Again, Ethan was 3.
What made this story so heartbreaking to me (sorry about the TEARS in this episode) – was that my husband and I were in the exact same situation. I am a Canadian citizen, Evan is a US citizen. When we went to apply for our twin boys’ US citizenships under the Trump administration, we were granted them both immediately, simply because we are a heterosexual couple. The discrimination and injustice that Andrew and Elad faced as a same-sex couple was obvious and devastating.
At the end of this episode, this family was waiting for a new court date… so…. does this story have a happy ending? As of October 2020 – IT DOES! A unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld last year’s lower-court ruling that the U.S. Department of State had no legitimate reason to deny birthright citizenship to 4-year-old Ethan Dvash-Banks.
So… Ethan got his US citizenship and the whole family now lives happily and securely in California. HALLELUJAH!
Thank you to Andrew, Elad, Aiden and Ethan for welcoming me into their home and sharing their story. Show your support for LGBTQ+ families by sharing this video and help Immigration Equality fight for ALL families at imeq.org