A recent survey published by The Las Vegas Sun found that, of all undocumented immigrants who benefit from DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), 10 percent identify themselves as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego conducted the study, in conjunction with the following organizations: the Center for American Progress, the National Immigration Law Center, and United We Dream.
The survey reached out to 3,063 non-citizens in 46 states and the District of Columbia and was conducted from August 1 to August 20. Those who conducted the study found that those who disclosed their immigration status were also more willing to disclose their gender identity. Further, data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Equaldex, a crowdsource project of LGBT laws, shows that, of the top five countries of origin of DACA recipients — Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru — all of them allow homosexuality to be legal; however, gay marriage is legal only in Mexico. Honduras makes same-sex marriage illegal, while El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru do not recognize it. In El Salvador, adoption by same-sex couples is illegal.
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who is a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the Dreamers Act, which would prevent DACA beneficiaries from being deported, said sending back LGBT Dreamers to their home countries would put their lives in danger. According to Senator Cortez Masto, there are 80 countries that make same-sex relationships illegal, which would imperil those who are removed from this country; even in those countries whose laws do not target the LGBT community as stringently as other nations, deportees would still face unwanted attention from those who are less tolerant, she said.
Sharita Bruberg, associate director for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, said there are actually approximately 267,000 LGBT non-citizens living in the United States. Ms. Bruberg stated that this data is crucial to learning more about this group of individuals who were “historically invisible because of their immigration status as well as their sexual orientation.” She also revealed that through Freedom of Information Act requests, hundreds of instances of LGBT immigrants being subject to abuse because of their sexual orientation in detention centers have been brought to light.
The New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP understand the issues LGBT non-citizens face and offer immigration legal services in an LGBT-friendly environment. Our New York immigration lawyers are experienced in handling all aspects of immigration law, including pathways to citizenship, asylum, and deportation defense. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (212) 267-2555.