RELEASE: Coalition of Nation’s Leading LGBTQ Organizations Demand Congress Protect Dreamers

Up to Several Hundred Thousand LGBTQ Dreamers at Risk of Deportation to Countries Where They Face Grave Harm

New York, NY (December 8, 2022) — Today, a coalition of the nation’s leading LGBTQ organizations sent a letter to Congress, calling on lawmakers to immediately pass legislation with permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for all Dreamers. DACA recipients and Dreamers include up to several hundred thousand LGBTQ young people at risk of deportation to countries where they will face grave harm. The coalition also calls on Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement that protects Dreamers without harming asylum seekers, refugees, and other vulnerable immigrants.

“Protecting Dreamers is a vitally important LGBTQ issue,” said Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director of Immigration Equality. “Because most Dreamers were born in countries fundamentally unsafe for LGBTQ people, protecting them from being deported is a matter of life and death. Congress must immediately legislate a solution for these young people before it’s too late. And, they must do so without trading away any of the rights of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.”

LGBTQ Dreamers likely number in the hundreds of thousands, according to research cited in the letter—the majority born in countries where it is fundamentally unsafe to be LGBTQ. Without permanent protections in place by the end of this legislative session, LGBTQ Dreamers and DACA recipients will be deportable to countries where they will face human rights violations such as forced conversion therapy, sexual assault, and brutal violence. Some LGBTQ Dreamers also risk returning to countries where being LGBTQ is punishable with incarceration or even the death penalty.

In their letter, the coalition advocates for Congress to “pass a clean bill that protects Dreamers and to aggressively reject any tradeoffs that threaten fair and humane immigration. Congress must reject any effort to codify Title 42 expulsions into law, which would permanently ravage our asylum system. Holding Dreamers hostage in exchange for proposals that remove, expel, or shut out asylum seekers is unacceptable.”

The courts are almost certain to strike down DACA and end the program in 2023. Without Congressional action, over 600,000 current DACA recipients will be stripped of their legal status. A larger population of Dreamers, including DACA recipients, is estimated to be in the millions. Uprooting individuals who have spent most of their lives in the U.S., the letter notes, would be devastating not only to the individuals, but also to their families, to their local communities, and to the entire nation.