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Immigration, Refugee, and Asylum Issues

HRC has long taken an active role in pushing for more welcoming immigration policies in the United States - from supporting Dreamers, asylum seekers and refugees, to endorsing Comprehensive and Inclusive Immigration Reform during the Obama Administration. 
Since Donald Trump and Mike Pence came to office, though, HRC has taken a much more aggressive stance, pushing back against their demonization of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers at every turn. 

  • We have endorsed and lobbied for passage of the Dream Act, which would give a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented people who were brought here as children - including tens of thousands of LGBTQ Dreamers
  • We have called out the horrific policies that tear families apart at the border and demanded humane treatment of LGBTQ people - and all people - in immigration detention. 
  • We have denounced the State Department's severe cuts in refugee admissions and worked with our partners to tell the stories of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence at home. 
  • We have joined the Muslim community in condemning Trump's discriminatory Muslim Ban. 

Learn more about HRC’s immigration work:


Asylum Seekers


Asylum seekers are among the world’s most vulnerable people. Driven from their homes by violence or persecution, they have come to the U.S. seeking safety and a better life. LGBTQ asylum seekers are even more vulnerable than most because they often arrive without a family support network or an ethnic community to take them in - and are sometimes even fleeing persecution from their own families and communities back home. 
The Trump-Pence administration has compounded this by detaining nearly every asylum seeker or forcing them to wait in Mexico, both of which lead to more stigma, violence and discrimination. 
Studies have shown that LGBTQ asylum seekers are 92 times more likely to face violence in immigration detention than non-LGBTQ detainees, while those sent to Mexico face a community that is often as unwelcoming to LGBTQ people as their home countries are.

HRC has: 

  • Joined our partners in the immigrant rights community to highlight the injustice of the Trump-Pence border policies, and demanded humane treatment of LGBTQ people - and all people - in immigration detention. 
  • Fought against the Orwellian “Migration Protection Protocols” which, far from protecting migrants, actually forces them to remain in Mexico while they await their day in asylum court. 
  • Opposed attempts by Trump and Pence to raise fees for asylum seekers and to delay their authorization to work for those already in the U..S While they await their day in immigration court.





Refugees are people who fled their homes due to persecution and violence and have been granted asylum in a safe country but are seeking to be resettled in a third country. Traditionally, the United States has had a leading role in resettling refugees, aiming to take in over 100,000 each year toward the end of the Obama Administration. 

The Trump-Pence administration has severely cut the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. each year, down to just 18,000 for the fiscal year ending in September 2020. The Muslim and African bans that Trump and Pence created in 2017 and 2020 have also shut the door to refugees seeking resettlement from particular countries on the banned list. 

HRC has:

  • Pushed back against these draconian cuts and bans that make it nearly impossible for LGBTQ and other refugees to be resettled in the U.S. 
  • Highlighted this vulnerable population each year on World Refugee Day, along with our partners in the refugee rights community.




Dreamers are immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors without documentation and are seeking to stay in the U..S to continue their studies, or to work and contribute to the U.S. economy. It is estimated that approximately 75,000 of the 1.8 million total Dreamers identify as LGBTQ. 

In 2012, President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided an opportunity for Dreamers to  legalize their status and come out of the shadows. Hundreds of thousands of Dreamers took advantage of this program, including an estimated 36,000 LGBTQ-identified Dreamers. 

HRC has:

  • Supported DACA upon its creation and has continued to support DACA and Dreamers despite the Trump-Pence administration’s attempts to dismantle the program. 
  • Endorsed and lobbied for the Dream Act, rallied with DACA supporters at the Supreme Court.
  • Highlighted stories of LGBTQ Dreamers who simply want to stay in the U.S. and continue living their lives.