PRESS RELEASE: Gutting Asylum System Deadly to Queer and Trans Immigrants, Say Leading LGBTQ Groups

LGBTQ Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Protect Refugees in Funding Bill Negotiations

New York, NY (December 14, 2023) — Today, a coalition of the nation’s leading LGBTQ organizations, including Immigration Equality, Human Rights Campaign, The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, GLAAD, Lambda Legal, National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender Law Center, and Outright International sent a letter to President Biden and Congress cautioning them against trading protections for LGBTQ immigrants in exchange for a one-time spending bill.

“The LGBTQ community is outraged by the radical proposals being considered by Congress and the President that would put asylum out of reach for most refugees, including LGBTQ asylum seekers,” said Bridget Crawford, Director of Law & Policy at Immigration Equality. “These short-sighted changes fail to tackle any of the real issues afflicting our immigration system, like the massive asylum backlog and lack of capacity for humane processing at the border.

The extreme, Trump-like immigration policies reportedly being considered by the White House and Congress would gut the U.S. asylum system, make ICE detention mandatory for asylum seekers, including queer and trans immigrants who routinely face homophobic and transphobic abuse in immigration jails, increase mass deportations, and reinstate border expulsion policies like Title 42.

“We are alarmed by the reported changes to asylum law under consideration, which would disproportionately harm LGBTQ+ asylum seekers fleeing for their lives and seeking safety in the United States,” said David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “If instituted, these policies would force LGBTQ+ people back to their countries of persecution or leave them at increased risk of violence along our southern border. The United States must not backtrack on our long history as a beacon of safety for so many around the world. Rather than using asylum seekers’ lives as bargaining chips, Congress should be engaging in real, bipartisan discussions to achieve long-awaited comprehensive immigration reform that protects the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and provides protections to Dreamers around our country.”

In their letter, the coalition warns that none of these proposals will fix the immigration system or solve problems along the Southern Border. They will, however, result in the preventable persecution, torture, and death of thousands of LGBTQ refugees.

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