So far, so good. President Obama has given opportunity to immigrants to “come out” (see earlier blog), but how about those that have to come out as immigrants and queer? As a gay man and a first generation immigrant I applaud him. LGBT people who were deported and returned to the US will not have to fear being stuck in a revolving door.
The president has previously given Deferred Action to Childhood Arrivals (DACA). At least 200,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants are now eligible for legal status. An estimated 10 percent of DACA recipients identify as LGBT. The President’s new plan will make an estimated 300,000 more people eligible for DACA. LGBT citizens and lawful permanent residents no longer need to live in fear that their parents will be deported. This is particularly risky for same-sex couples since nearly 80 countries criminalize being LGBT. (see for example, NABWMT Board Press Release). It also saves same-sex binational couples from years of painful separation.
The President’s plan is temporary during his last years in office and would be subject to possible rejection afterwards. Long term policies should recognize LGBT folk and their families, in immigration and also in our asylum and refugee systems.
The action also ends Secure Communities and prevents police profiling of LGBT people from ending in deportation. 73 percent of LGBT people report encountering police in the last 5 years.
The President took the first step, but it’s up to Congress to pass legislation to fully protect LGBT immigrants.
Source: LGBT Progress.