In anticipation of immigration reform proposals expected this week, a strong consensus has emerged that immigration is a key issue for the LGBT community, which includes an estimated 267,000 undocumented LGBT adults. This is especially true for transgender immigrants and their loved ones, who are especially vulnerable to discrimination, violence, detention, and deportation.
In NCTE’s Blueprint for Equality, we noted that: “As our political system fails to deliver meaningful immigration reform, millions of individuals and families in the United States face unspeakable hardships, including the forced separation of families, escalating deportations of individuals with deep roots in their communities who have committed no serious wrongdoing, and indefinite detention in cruel and abusive conditions. The government’s failure to recognize LGBT families exacerbates the hardships on our community, and transgender people frequently find their relationships challenged regardless of the gender of their partner.”
For several years NCTE has worked with many other human rights advocates to reform our costly and inhumane system of prolonged immigration detention in which transgender people—many of them fleeing violence and persecution in their countries of origin—are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Reforming this system, as well as eliminating arbitrary barriers for transgender people filing for asylum, must be a part of reform. Immigration reform also can’t work for transgender and other workers, immigrant and non-immigrant alike, if it imposes an employee verification system that unnecessarily invades personal privacy.
NCTE is proud to be among hundreds of LGBT organizations across the country advocating for immigration reform that protects all of our communities. Just one of the many ways we do this work is by joining with other advocates to weigh in with members of Congress and the White House on the many important issues involved in reform.