Direct Legal Services
In over 80 countries, it is a crime or fundamentally unsafe to be LGBTQ or HIV-positive. Worldwide, individuals face violence, prison time, or the death penalty due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In order to escape grave dangers to their lives and health, many queer, trans, and HIV-positive people seek protection by applying for asylum in the United States. After they arrive, they still confront countless barriers to securing safe haven, including dangerous conditions in immigration detention facilities and difficulty navigating the complex asylum process.
The biggest factor in whether someone wins asylum is whether they have high-quality legal representation. For that reason, Immigration Equality provides free legal services to LGBTQ and HIV-positive asylum seekers. Each year, we connect over 600 individuals with pro bono attorneys, and our staff trains and works with those lawyers to help their clients. Since we started our asylum program, our in-house attorneys and large pro-bono network have won asylum for over 1,200 individuals.
Due to the life-threatening conditions LGBTQ and HIV-positive people face in immigration detention, we run a dedicated detention hotline. Asylum seekers can call our attorneys directly to get legal advice, resources, or obtain representation. Each month, we receive over hundreds calls from people in detention, and the need continues to grow.