Congressional Equality Caucus Letter 2014

To: Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus

RE: LGBTQ specific needs in Obama’s upcoming Executive Order on Immigration

Dear Congressional Equality Caucus Co-Chairs:

Over 50 other LGBTQ organizations have been mobilizing our groups this year for LGBTQ specific immigration policy needs. As the groups listed below we know that the White House is in motion to act on immigration and we are calling on the Equality Caucus to use its influence to advocate for the needs of LGBTQ immigrants. LGBTQ immigrants will be deeply affected by whatever President Obama decides. We are proud that our country has a congressional Equality Caucus and as LGBTQ people we understand its role is to represent our whole community. Ending deportations and other key issues outlined below are of equal importance to the LGBTQ community as issues such as employment and marriage.

We know President Obama has the legal authority to deliver Administrative Relief on immigration and to change current enforcement policies and practices by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The President can support the safety and equal treatment under the law for ALL our LGBTQ communities by expanding Deferred Action and other relief from deportation, ending the torture of solitary confinement (including against transgender and gender nonconforming immigrants), curtailing the caging of our communities through immigration detention, and stopping the use of ICE holds which encourage local police to even further target LGBTQ people of color for arrest and deportation.

As organizations who are made up of, and represent, immigrant LGBTQ people we understand that the best advocates on these issues are the people most directly affected by these policies and practices. We urge and call on you, and other Co-Chairs and members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, to advocate for our communities’ by issuing a statement calling on President Obama to include these LGBTQ specific recommendations in regard to immigration:

  • Expand Deferred Action (DACA) to the fullest extent of the law
    According to the Williams Institute, there are more than 267,000 undocumented LGBTQ people living in the US. They all need relief regardless of age, criminal record, race, country of origin or parental status.
  • End all programs involving law enforcement and ICE collaboration
    When law enforcement and ICE collaborate, racial, gender and sexuality-based profiling regularly ensues. The way to end this kind of discrimination and not undermine the safety of local communities is to keep these entities separate.
  • Eliminate the use of Solitary Confinement
    Solitary Confinement is regularly used to supposedly “protect” Trans and LGB people while in detention. If ICE cannot guarantee LGBTQ people’s safety, they should not be detaining them. A practice that the UN classifies as torture is not acceptable for housing LGBTQ immigrants.
  • Expand protections to LGBTQ and other vulnerable populations  under police and ICE custody, in detention centers
    People who are HIV positive, pregnant and/or LGBTQ require critical health needs that cannot be met while in detention. These vulnerable populations deserve access to medical care and other special considerations immediately.

Given the timing of the White House’s motion on this issue, we are asking for a response to this letter by Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

  • Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
  • Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement (TQLM)
  • Transgender Law Center (TLC), National
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
  • National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Washington, D.C.
  • GetEqual, National
  • Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Network
  • Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP)
  • The Queer Network
  • Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC)
  • Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE), Wisconsin
  • Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), Providence, RI
  • CAUSA
  • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Washington, D.C.
  • Visibility Project, San Francisco, CA
  • Equality New Mexico
  • Chinese for Affirmative Action, San Francisco, CA
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Equality Louisiana
  • Louisiana Trans Advocates
  • Trans Latin@ Coalition
  • Transgender Intersex Justice Project
  • El/La Para Trans Latinas
  • Freedom Inc., Madison, WI
  • 1Love Movement, National
  • Latinos in the Deep South

If your organization is interested in signing onto this endorsement please contact caitlin@southernersonnewground.org