Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Press Release

Asylum & Immigration

LGBT Advocacy Organizations Call on House to Pass Immigration Reform Bill

Media Contacts:

Erik Olvera, NCLR, (415) 392-6257  x324, (415) 994-3242 (cell), eolvera@nclrights.org
Monica Trasandes, GLAAD, (323) 634-2025, trasandes@GLAAD.org
Mark Daley, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, (202) 639-6325, mdaley@TheTaskForce.org
Kristin Ford, United We Dream, (202) 570-6441, kristin@unitedwedream.org

This statement can be attributed to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, GetEQUAL, Equality Federation, National Center for Transgender Equality and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

Today, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill based on bipartisan policy. Every measure in the bill has support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Not even a government shutdown will stop us or hold us back. America wants and needs a permanent solution to our broken immigration system this year.

The LGBT community is standing side-by-side with our allies in the immigrant rights community to pass immigration reform because our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keeping families together. Too many LGBT immigrants are forced to live in two closets. It’s time for all immigrants to be able to come out of the shadows.

Immigration is an LGBT issue. For us, this fight is personal. This fight for reform is about our families, our communities and our nation’s future. Thousands of people trapped in our broken immigration system are victimized and stigmatized due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We’re in this fight to end the senseless deportations that tear apart families, to protect workers from exploitation and abuse and to fix our country’s broken immigration system. We need a system that creates dignity and respect for all Americans, aspiring and citizens alike.

We’re in this fight for the transgender immigrants who are vulnerable to discrimination, abuse and injustice in our immigration detention system, and who are frequently placed in solitary confinement despite the fact that it fails to prevent abuse and can seriously harm detainees’ psychological health.

We’re in this fight for immigrants who have legitimate asylum claims but are denied because an arbitrary filing deadline prevents the government from even considering the merits of their case. Many LGBT immigrants face the threat of violence or persecution if they are forced to return to their home countries.

We’re in this fight because there must be a permanent solution that will provide the 11 million aspiring Americans, including the 267,000 LGBT immigrants, the opportunity to earn citizenship in the country they call home. We will continue to ratchet up the pressure until we make the promise of reform a reality.

We have seen some action from the Democratic leadership in the House – now it’s time for the 26 Republican representatives who support a pathway to citizenship to also co-sponsor this bill. It’s time for our Congress to stop playing politics and solve the problems of our country.

As reform moves forward, we want to be clear: we oppose the idea of relegating millions of immigrants to a permanent underclass where they can work in this country but never achieve citizenship.

Unlike the final Senate version, today’s bill reflects a more reasonable, bipartisan alternative to the wasteful and unnecessary militarization of our border. We are committed to working with House leaders to ensure that the legislation that ultimately emerges from this debate offers the best path forward for all undocumented immigrants.

A House majority exists in support of immigration reform; however, the GOP is playing political games while 11 million lives hang in the balance. Speaker Boehner said he will not allow a vote if he doesn’t have the support of the majority of his party. This means that a group of 118 representatives – just 27 percent of the House – holds the entire House hostage on this vital issue. This is outrageous and undemocratic. We refuse to allow a minority to block immigration reform we so urgently need.

We have seen these tactics used to shut down the government. We will not stand by and allow this small but vocal minority to do the same to immigration reform when families hang in the balance.

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