Asylum for LGBT People and People with HIV and/or AIDS
Asylum for LGBT People
NCLR helps many LGBT people win asylum in the U.S. Asylum is a legal protection for people who have been persecuted, or who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted, because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People who are persecuted (or who fear that they may be persecuted) because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status are eligible for asylum under the category of "membership in a particular social group." Being granted asylum allows the applicant to lawfully reside and seek employment in the United States, as well as to be eligible for some public benefits. A person who has been granted asylum can apply for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident one year after the grant of asylum.
Under current law, a person must apply for asylum within one year of their last entry into the U.S. In limited circumstances, an applicant may be able to overcome the one year filing deadline by showing either the existence of changed circumstances that materially affect the applicant's eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances that justify the delay in filing.
Asylum for People with HIV and/or AIDS
NCLR helps many people with HIV and/or AIDS win asylum in the U.S. Typically, an applicant with HIV must demonstrate that he or she will be severely mistreated because of his or her HIV status. A person's inability to receive the same level of medical treatment in his or her country of origin that is available in the United States is alone not sufficient to win asylum. Examples of mistreatment that may give rise to an asylum claim are:
- imprisonment, or similar confinement, against one's will on account of HIV status
- police abuse, isolation, or civil discrimination - such as mandatory testing policies - which result in job loss
- so-called "social cleansing" practices by police or other government agencies to rid the country of people infected with the HIV virus
- denial of treatment for a non-HIV-related illness due to the patient's HIV status
- being treated as a social pariah and unable to carry out basic life functions, such as attending school or house of worship; criminalization of the individual's HIV status (for instance, a person who is HIV-positive may be categorized as a prostitute, drug addict, or sex criminal, without regard to the person's individual circumstances)