LGBT Immigrants and Immigration Reform

LGBT Immigrants and Immigration ReformThe U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in June named Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 and it is now awaiting action in the House. This legislation would secure the border and offer the undocumented immigrants a road map to earned citizenship. Apart from that, it would create new visa programs and eliminate immigration backlogs.

This bill, if passed would benefit the immigrants and the citizens of the country. It would also benefit the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) immigrants living in the United States. According to the Williams Institute, there are around one million LGBT immigrants in America and around 30% of them are undocumented. If the bill passed by the Senate is approved by the House and signed into law by the President, more than 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants would be put on a pathway to US citizenship.

This bill would prevent the law enforcement authorities from placing the LGBT immigrants in solitary confinement. They would hence be protected from assault. Currently, LGBT immigrants are being placed in solitary confinement and are being ill-treated in U.S. immigration facilities but the reform bill if passed would improve the treatment of the LGBT immigrants in immigration detention.

Reports say that LGBT people from various foreign countries come to the United States seeking protection from persecution. Many apply for asylum in America but one in five immigrants seeking protection are denied asylum in the country just because they fail to file their applications for asylum within one year from the date of last arrival. The Senate bill would eliminate this one year deadline for the LGBT immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. This bill would protect the LGBT immigrants in immigration detention facilities who are subject to physical and sexual violence and would also change the way the immigration courts decide on LGBT cases.