President’s action provides temporary relief to thousands of LGBT immigrants, Congress must provide overall permanent solution
WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the long awaited decision by President Obama to sign an executive order providing administrative relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants, including many of the estimated 267,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants.
“Millions of undocumented immigrants who have been waiting in perpetual fear for far too long will finally have relief thanks to the strong leadership of President Obama,” said Chad Griffin, President of HRC. “Administrative relief from deportation for thousands of LGBT people who want nothing more than pursuing happiness and living openly, honestly and without fear of deportation is an important interim step. It’s now up to Congress to do its job and pass comprehensive, lasting immigration reforms.”
HRC has long called on the president to provide administrative relief for undocumented LGBT immigrants. In addition to the challenges that LGBT undocumented immigrants share with all undocumented immigrants, many also face additional dangers if deported. Many LGBT immigrants come from countries where LGBT people live in the shadows of society, fearing for the safety of themselves and their families. In fact, in nearly 80 countries around the world, it is a crime to be LGBT. Deporting people to those countries is placing them in danger of harassment, violence, arrest, or even death.
HRC will continue to work with the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure the needs of undocumented LGBT immigrants are addressed. This includes:
DHS implementation guidelines that take affirmative steps to ensure that any definition of family is broadly construed to take into account the legal barriers that complicate LGBT familial relationships.
Steps to prevent deportation to countries and communities where lives are endangered.
Protecting LGBT detainees from sexual assault, violence, and solitary confinement.
While the president’s action is undoubtedly a step forward, he only has the power to create a temporary stopgap that does not provide permanent legalization. Ultimately, our broken immigration system is a problem that must be fixed by Congress. HRC will continue to work with our allies on Capitol Hill to pass acomprehensive, permanent solution that protects the health, safety, and well-being of LGBT immigrants.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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