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November 21, 2014  

Immigration Advocates Concerned Familial Ties Requirement Will Exclude Many from Relief

New York, NY – Immigration Equality, the national leader in direct representation and advocacy for LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and families, calls on President Obama to ensure that his executive order on immigration is inclusive of LGBT immigrants and their families. The President’s order focuses on keeping families together, but because U.S law has long refused to recognize LGBT families, a package that requires formal family ties will exclude many LGBT immigrants from relief.   

“We welcome the impact President Obama’s order will have on millions of undocumented immigrants, including the 30,000 LGBT people who arrived as youths,” said Caroline Dessert, Executive Director of Immigration Equality.  “But we are deeply concerned that many LGBT immigrants will remain at risk of deportation to fundamentally unsafe places. We urge the President not to leave out these vulnerable LGBT immigrants.  We urge the President to ensure that immigration laws recognize our families and protect LGBT immigrants from deportation to fundamentally unsafe places.”

“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” said Alejandro, a 38-year-old gay man originally from Mexico, who has called this country home for 16 years. “I am very happy for one half of my community and very sad for the other half. As a single gay man with no children, my ties to this country will not be recognized. I have roots in this country: I have my own business, I belong to a church, and I identify as American. Still, I will not qualify for the new protection from deportation. I know that President Obama can do better.”

Immigration Equality will continue its advocacy efforts to ensure that immigration laws recognize LGBT families and protect LGBT immigrants from deportation to the more than 80 countries where it is a crime to be LGBT and the many more where it is fundamentally unsafe.  


Since 1994, Immigration Equality has been representing LGBT and HIV-positive asylum seekers, detainees, and binational couples, who are fighting for safety, fair treatment, and freedom. Immigration Equality represents people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status. Our team of legal experts has won asylum for more than 600 LGBT and HIV-positive individuals.