Home > Press Releases > New Rule Blocking Asylum Seekers Who Travel Through Third Country Puts LGBTQ Refugees in Mortal Danger


July 15, 2019


Kristen Thompson communications@immigrationequality.org | +1 646-723-1581

New Rule Blocking Asylum Seekers Who Travel Through Third Country Puts LGBTQ Refugees In Mortal Danger

NEW YORK, NY—Today, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice announced an interim final rule that will bar immigrants who travel through a third country from applying for asylum in the U.S. The measure targets asylum seekers who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, including LGBTQ refugees who travel hundreds of miles to escape persecution in Central America. It is set to go into effect tomorrow.

“The Trump Administration’s latest attack on asylum seekers is reprehensible,” said Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director of Immigration Equality. “It is their most blatant attempt so far to dismantle the asylum system altogether in clear violation of domestic and international law. LGBTQ people have remarkably strong asylum cases due to the high risk of persecution in their countries of origin. Denying them the chance to apply for protection in the United States will lead to senseless and avoidable violence and death.”

Many LGBTQ asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable to violence in Central America and Mexico. For example, in 2018, a shelter for transgender migrants was burglarized and set on fire in Tijuana, Mexico. Also, in 2017 and 2018, due to the abuse they faced by fellow travelers and local residents, two groups of LGBTQ asylum seekers broke off from the larger migrant caravans.

The interim final rule is the latest in a systematic effort by the Administration to block asylum seekers from pursuing claims, including: the metering at port of entries and Remain in Mexico policies; a proposal to allow untrained border patrol agents to conduct credible fear interviews; and placing over 800,000 immigration cases in a backlog, the vast majority of which are asylum cases, significantly delaying their processing times.


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.

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