FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2018
Immigration Equality Releases New Video Featuring LGBTQ Refugees Highlighting Benefits of Asylum
New York, NY – Today, amid reports that the Trump administration plans to continue its attacks on the asylum system by completely shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border, Immigration Equality released a new video featuring the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) asylum recipients. The short film features three Immigration Equality clients from around the world discussing why they sought asylum, their experiences in immigration detention, what asylum has meant for them, and their contributions to the U.S. as they have built new lives in New York City.
“Immigration Equality’s asylee clients contribute so much to our communities. They are teachers, healthcare providers, artists, and activists. We as a nation should continue to embrace refugees and asylum seekers, not turn our backs on them when they need us most,” said Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron C. Morris. “This video highlights the dangers LGBTQ asylum seekers face in their countries of origin and shows why defending the asylum system is integral to keeping the United States a beacon of hope for people around the world.”
The video comes a week after a memo leaked to the New York Times that the Trump administration is considering denying transgender people protections under Title IX and days after President Trump threatened to issue an executive order to deny the members of the so-called “migrant caravan” the right to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Among those fleeing violence and persecution in Honduras as part of the caravan are numerous queer and trans people fleeing anti-LGBTQ violence.
Alena Sandimirova is a jewelry designer and small business owner, Ishalaa Ortega works at a community health clinic as a Supervisor and case manager for people living with HIV, and Edafe Okporo is the director of a refugee shelter in Harlem, New York.
Filming and post-production by renowned fashion photographer/director Bell Soto for Immigration Equality, with special thanks to the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department at SVA for generously donating their space and equipment.
Immigration Equality is the nation’s leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization. We represent and advocate for people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse, and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. Our legal team has won asylum for more than 1,000 LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants while maintaining a 99% success rate.