Why It Matters:
There are nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, including at least 267,000 who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). The current broken system harms, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and their friends and families. In many areas, such as detention, asylum, labor and marriage, the system disproportionately harms LGBT people. For example, same-sex marriages aren't recognized by the immigration system, which forces bi-national couples to be ripped apart. Furthermore, transgender people face an additional burden of the threat of harassment, violence, and discrimination in detention facilities, which are often operated by private contractors. These injustices — to LGBT people and others caught in the nation’s immigration system — must be addressed. For these reasons, comprehensive federal immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation and the LGBT community.
What We're Doing:
The Task Force has a solid history of advocating for immigration equality through grassroots advocacy; direct action; and legislative lobbying at the local, state and federal levels. We've stood with our colleagues in the immigrant rights movement in calling for public policy changes that include humane detention standards and a clear path to citizenship for everyone, gay or straight; asylum for those persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; and family unification for bi-national couples.
Our advocacy to advance immigrant rights has been integral to our public policy priorities as a progressive organization. Most recently, immigration was a key theme at our conference this year: The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Atlanta, GA. The Creating Change conference is the largest annual gathering of activists, organizers and leaders in the LGBT movement and draws over 3500 attendees. In addition, the plenary programming featured prominent immigration reform leaders such as Deepak Bhargava and DREAM Act leaders Jose Antonio Vargas, Sousa-Rodriguez, Paulina Helm-Hernandez and Viridiana Martinez. In her State of the Movement Address on Thursday evening, our executive director Rea Carey issued a call to action for the LGBT community to more fully embrace these issues as integral to our collective struggles for justice and equality. We also partnered with NQAPIA and LULAC to elevate public awareness on this issue within the LGBT community and launched two successful civic engagement actions for sensible, fair and humane comprehensive immigration reform.
Lastly, the Task Force has participated in many rallies, marches and mobilizations including March for America, Take Back the American Dream and Reclaim the American Dream Rally. Our membership of the Alliance for Citizenship’s Coordinating Committee allows us to deepen our level of engagement on immigration reform. We work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. The Task Force has contributed its name to numerous immigration advocacy efforts including working with the We Belong Together Coalition to oppose anti-immigrant state laws like those in GA, AZ and AL. We also co-led an effort with Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to issue a joint statement declaring LGBT groups’ solidarity against Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB1070.
What You Can Do:
The bipartisan “gang of eight” senators introduced legislation to fix our broken immigration system. The Task Force believes that immigration is an LGBT issue and we’re dedicated to ensuring that Congress passes fair and humane immigration reform this year. The introduction of this bill is an important first step.
The Task Force’s Rea Carey speaking at the April 10 immigration reform rally. Photo credit: Kathy Plate.
However, this legislation includes roadblocks and barriers that leave out many immigrants including LGBT people and bi-national same-sex couples. That’s why we need you to join us by calling on Congress to pass legislation that leaves no one behind.
The current legislation provides important pathways to citizenship that will benefit thousands of LGBT individuals, but it doesn’t do nearly enough. Take action now to tell Congress to pass reform that
- Provides a real pathway to citizenship
- Ensures family unity for ALL families
- Ends unjust detentions and deportations
- Upholds labor and employment standards
- Promotes a dignified quality of life for border communities
- Doesn’t relegate immigrant members of our community to second-class status
If we stand united in support of this reform, we can win policies that leave no one behind.
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