LGBT advocates have joined with business and faith leaders, organized labor, feminist and pro-choice groups, and many others to move immigration reform forward during Congress’ August recess.
LGBT advocates see immigration reform as an LGBT issue because 267,000 LGBT and undocumented adults live in the US. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to repeal Section three of the Defense of Marriage Act, which did not allow federal laws to recognize LGBT couples, provided some relief for LGBT binational couples, but others still need more. For example, in immigration detention facilities, LGBT immigrants are vulnerable to abuse. Transgender detainees are often denied access to hormone treatment, detained with people of a gender with which they do not identify, and subjected to abuse from guards and other detainees. LGBT detainees are often put in solitary confinement to protect them from abuse by other detainees, but isolation can be extremely dangerous to their physical and mental health. Advocates for immigration reform hope to change this.
Several organizations have taken steps over the summer to raise awareness about immigration reform and push legislation. The National Center for Transgender Equality brought over 100 people to Capitol Hill in June to advocate for reform and launched an online August Recess Action Center that provides tools for people to get in touch with members of Congress. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance organized its members to send 2,000 postcards to members of the House of Representatives to show their support, and it launched a campaign called “Uncovering Our Stories” to amplify LGBT Asian and Pacific Islander voices. Immigration Equality recently launched its LGBTforCIR national campaign to connect LGBT and immigration reform advocates in order to broaden the movement.
Media Resources: Center for American Progress 8/28/2013; ACLU 10/31/2011; New York Times 3/23/2013