For the last 20 years, Immigration Equality has represented more LGBT immigrants in asylum and removal defense nationwide than any other organization. Currently, we have a caseload of more than 500 clients.
As the national experts in LGBT immigration, we were asked to argue as amicus counsel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals alongside the Public Law Center and the National Immigrant Justice Center. Today, I will explain to the Court how LGBT people identify themselves and how our community is perceived by potential persecutors.
This is a key component to the case Godoy-Ramirez v. Holder, in which a transgender woman’s asylum claim was denied in part because an immigration judge noted that gay marriages were being performed in Mexico City. This will not make her safe!
The experiences of transgender women are remarkably different from those of gay men. And, if it is dangerous to be gay, it is almost always more dangerous to be transgender. Transgender women are uniquely vulnerable and subject to gender and racial profiling. They need decision-makers in our immigration system to understand their distinct struggles.
Immigration Equality continues to grow and to expand our legal services. This means not only increasing the number of individuals we directly represent, but also seeking new and inventive ways to ensure systemic change. Last year, we sued the government on behalf of 62 clients whose asylum interviews had been unjustly delayed for far too long. As a result, all 62 have now been granted asylum or obtained their asylum interview date.
Now, we hope to change the legal landscape for transgender women from Mexico who are seeking a safe place to call home. There are too many places in the world where it is fundamentally unsafe to be LGBT. We have never been more necessary than we are today. Please consider giving a gift today to support our work.
Aaron C. Morris
Legal Director, Immigration Equality