The National Center for Transgender Equality and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) today issued a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to provide affirmative relief for individuals who have long-term residency in the United States but may not have state recognized familial relationships with citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPR), or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) holders. The letter also requests the President to advance flexible criminal background requirements in light of the high conviction rates of undocumented LGBTQ immigrants for survival crimes such as sex work.
The letter calls for LGBT inclusion as President Obama is expected to release his administrative relief package on undocumented immigrants in the coming weeks.
“Relief for undocumented Americans should not rely on separating out supposedly ‘good’ and ‘bad’ immigrants based on the circumstances they’ve faced and the choices they’ve made to get by–especially not when it would disproportionately exclude LGBT people,” said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, NCTE Racial and Economic Justice Initiative Policy Advisor.
These measures would represent significant strides in alleviating the threat of deportation for the over 267,000 undocumented LGBTQ individuals that currently reside in the country, including an estimated fifteen to fifty thousand transgender persons. Many transgender undocumented immigrants come to the United States because of persecution and violence they face in their home country, including by local authorities and police.
Eleven LGBT equality and immigrant’s rights groups including Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Presente.org joined the letter.
Read the letter below.
Learn more about how immigration laws affect transgender people in our report “Our Moment for Reform: Immigration and Transgender People.”