February 6, 2024
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Human Rights Campaign issued the following letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to express concern regarding immigration provisions in the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024:
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Leader Schumer:
On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, we write to express our deep concerns regarding some of the immigration provisions included in the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024. While we recognize the urgent need to pass meaningful immigration reform and address the challenges at our southern border, the legislation’s proposed changes to our asylum system would cause irreparable harm to the lives of asylum seekers, including LGBTQ+ people.
We have significant concerns that, under the new border expulsion authority, LGBTQ+ asylum seekers would be left languishing in Mexico for their asylum claims to be heard and at risk of increased violence. Human rights organizations have documented murder, sexual assault, exhortion, and kidnapping of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico and Title 42 policies, and this new authority would enable similar circumstances for those waiting to make their asylum claims. LGBTQ+ asylum seekers will face the difficult choice between returning to a country where they face persecution, or remaining in a dangerous limbo as they wait to enter the United States.
Similarly, raising the standard for initial asylum screenings and fast-tracking the process places asylum just out of reach for many in the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, who are already fleeing their countries due to persecution, may face extreme traumas as they travel to the United States. Unable to disclose their full story due to their experiences during transit or norms regarding LGBTQ+ status within their home countries, LGBTQ+ asylum seekers with strong cases may be wrongfully denied under the new heightened standard with no opportunities for judicial review. Should this occur, many LGBTQ+ asylum seekers will be deported back to countries where their safety, and even lives, are at risk.
Finally, we discourage the bill’s dramatic expansion of immigration detention. Over the past few years, organizations have raised alarms regarding the unsafe conditions, including sexual violence and medical neglect, that LGBTQ+ individuals - particularly transgender individuals - face in immigration detention. The rapid expansion of these facilities may only further exacerbate dangerous conditions in immigration detention.
If passed, these stringent asylum provisions would dim our nation’s longstanding history as a beacon of safety for those persecuted on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As the Senate considers this legislation, we urge you to reconsider these harsh proposals and uphold the United States’s obligations to protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Instead, the Senate must return to negotiating a good-faith immigration reform bill that provides effective solutions to concerns in our immigration system, including strengthening our asylum system and opening more opportunities for legal pathways to citizenship, including for Dreamers.
Vice President, Government Affairs Human Rights Campaign
To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email email@example.com.