LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS CALL ON CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO PASS A CLEAN DREAM ACT NOW
The Los Angeles LGBT Center, Equality California, The LGBT Center OC, Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), Lambda Legal, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, The Trevor Project, and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) issue the following statement:
LOS ANGELES February 8th, 2018 — As California-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organizations, we call on the California Congressional Delegation to reject the Trump immigration plan and pass a narrow and focused solution for DACA recipients and Dreamers with wide bipartisan support: the Dream Act. This bill would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth without hurting other immigrants, has the support of a supermajority of Americans and is the only legislation that is truly supportive of DACA recipients, Dreamers, and their families. We urge California Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to deliver a solution free of harmful and unpopular policies that would dismantle the family based immigration system, attack asylum seekers, devastate asylum law, end the visa lottery system, and increase mass deportations. These policies, proposed by the Trump Administration, would divide communities and separate families in our state and across the country.
The California Congressional delegation must act promptly and fairly to address the reality of thousands of young immigrants who will lose their protections and work permits at a rate of 1,400 per day starting March 5th, less than one month away, and many more thereafter. The right thing to do is to call for a vote on the Dream Act and vote yes now.
Under the current Administration immigrants have feared being turned away when seeking asylum at our borders, while others await the imminent end of their lawful Temporary Protected Status or DACA status if Congress does not take action. The fact is that same-sex relationships are criminalized in nearly 80 countries worldwide, and this leaves LGBT immigrants vulnerable to returning to unsafe conditions. The end of DACA will put thousands of these young people at risk by forcing them to go to countries they do not know and where human rights for LGBTQ people are precarious at best.
That is why today, we reiterate that immigration is an LGBTQ issue: LGBTQ people are immigrants; immigrants are LGBTQ. As organizations that fight for and defend the rights and wellbeing of LGBTQ individuals and families, we uphold the values of fairness, equality, and opportunity, values that are and should be hallmarks of our country. A clean Dream Act is a high priority to LGBTQ communities because:
- According to the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 36,000 LGBTQ DACA recipients that will lose their lawful immigration status without it. Under DACA, they were able to pursue higher education, improve their economic stability, and live securely with their families and in their communities;
- An estimated 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers face returning to countries that are unknown to them and that report high rates of anti-LGBT violence;
- LGBTQ immigrants, especially transgender women, face increased risk of sexual assault in immigration detention;
- Given the discrimination that LGBTQ immigrants face in many aspects of life, many have a higher rate of contact with law enforcement, and are therefore at higher risk of deportation;
- Adding increased border enforcement provisions to the Dream Act is unacceptable because those measures will further endanger LGBTQ asylum seekers seeking protection from anti-LGBT violence and other abuse; and
- Enhanced enforcement provisions would also increase the risk of profiling, detention, and unwarrented deportation for LGBTQ immigrants in the U.S.
Finally, we reiterate that Dreamers are a part of the American family and help make our communities vibrant. Passing the Dream Act would add a total of $22.7 billion to the United States’ GDP every year; gains that could add up to as much as $1 trillion over the next decade when the productivity bump that would result from Dreamer’s increased educational attainment is included.
For all these reasons, we urge the California Congressional Delegation to call for a vote on the DREAM Act and vote yes.
We also call upon LGBTQ communities to join the following actions this week and to urge your California representative to support the Dream Act. Let’s make our voices count for DACA recipients and Dreamers now!
Upcoming Actions to Support
NEAT phone banking: Want to give your members/volunteers in all 50 states the ability to help immigrant youth, but you don't have the time to set up your own phone banks? NEAT has the solution for you! All you have to do is encourage folks to sign up for evening shifts next week -- NEAT does the rest. If you have any questions contact Brian Silva at NEAT at email@example.com
Contact your representative - Online action and tell them to pass a clean #DreamActNow! Email and call your California Congressional Delegation: https://lalgbtcenter.org/take-action-now