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Nat'l LGBTQ leaders urge Pres. Obama, Congress to act on immigration
From a news release
2014-09-10

This article shared 2444 times since Wed Sep 10, 2014
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Washington, D.C. — Immigration Equality, the national non-profit organization advocating for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive individuals brought together a national coalition of LGBTQ and immigration leaders yesterday in Washington. Together, they shared the heart-wrenching stories of the unique ways in which gay and transgender individuals are impacted by current immigration policies and practices. At a press conference in front of the White House, leadership from GetEqual, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, Freedom to Marry, the League of United Latin American Citizens, National Center for Transgender Equality, United We Dream, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Immigration Equality and more expressed their extreme disappointment and frustration with President Obama's decision to delay his executive order on immigration until after the mid-term elections. The President's going back on his promise to provide relief before the end of summer endangers the lives of 267,000 undocumented LGBTQ Americans who urgently need relief from deportation. For LGBTQ immigrants, the consequences of being deported back to a country where being gay or transgender is a crime can be very grave. For the LGBTQ community, deportation can truly be a death sentence.

"Our goal for this day of action was to tell all decision-makers in Washington, D.C.—in the Administration and in Congress— that immigration is an LGBTQ issue," said Trina C. Olson, Interim Executive Director of Immigration Equality. "President Obama's decision to delay much-needed relief from deportation for 267,000 undocumented LGBTQ Americans is unacceptable. Humane relief and comprehensive immigration reform strategies are possible and long overdue. LGBTQ immigrants came to the United States believing that this country would live up to the promise of being a safe haven for people fleeing abuse. Now is not the time to turn our backs on them."

"Our community is extremely disappointed with President Obama's choice to put politics ahead of people's lives," said Marco Quiroga, National Field Officer of Immigration Equality, DACA recipient and gay man originally from Peru. "We know what the viable solutions are: the LGBTQ community needs access to asylum, needs deportations to end, and needs the detention system overhauled immediately. Now it's up to the President to provide humane relief from deportation and for Congress to pass lasting and comprehensive immigration reform for our entire community."

Movement leaders and LGBTQ immigrants originally from Nigeria, Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, and Mexico also went to the hill yesterday to voice their concerns directly to key legislators—Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Rep. Cory Gardner, Rep. Bill Cassidy, and House Speaker John Boehner—all of whom have played a role in blocking immigration reform in the House of Representatives in the past. While some offices welcomed a conversation with LGBTQ asylees, former detainees, and undocumented individuals, unfortunately Speaker Boehner and Representative Cassidy's offices refused to give LGBTQ immigrants, some who traveled from as far away as California and Texas, the opportunity to tell their stories. Instead, staff members literally locked their office doors in the face of aspiring LGBTQ Americans.

Since 1994, Immigration Equality has been representing LGBT and HIV-positive asylum seekers, detainees, and binational couples, who are fighting for safety, fair treatment, and freedom. Immigration Equality represents people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status. Our team of legal experts has won asylum for more than 600 LGBT and HIV-positive individuals.


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