Yesterday Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Member, Samantha Power, wrote a piece for the White House blog as part of Human Rights Week. As we fight for full equality at home, it is important to remember the daily struggle for safety and survival that many LGBT people face throughout the world. And it is heartening to see the United States prioritizing LGBT rights as human rights globally.
Several of the Administration’s accomplishments mentioned in the post — written guidance for asylum and refugee officers on LGBT issues; mandatory training of all asylum and refugee officers on LGBT issues; written guidance recognizing LGBT families for prosecutorial discretion in removal proceedings; and including LGBT identity as a factor in assessing risk to immigrant detainees as they are taken into custody — are issues on which Immigration Equality has been a leading advocate with the Administration. (We’ve also personally trained every new asylum officer hired in the last couple of years.)
Of course, we know all too well, that there is still much work to be done at home on LGBT rights. While the U.S. is one of the global leaders in asylum protections for LGBT people, we lag far behind many countries on basic rights for binational couples and families. Likewise, while it is important to see awareness of LGBT issues in the area of detention, the bottom line is that people who violate civil immigration rules should not be held in prison-like conditions at all. We are thankful to the commitment the Administration has shown to equality abroad, and Immigration Equality will continue to fight every day until we achieve full equality for LGBT people at home.