Rumors about wrongful detentions and deportations are swirling within our community. And, unfortunately, we know firsthand at Immigration Equality that some of them are true. That is why I am writing to you today with both some good news, and some important information on how to keep yourself and those you love safe.
In March, Denis Davydov — a gay Russian asylum seeker living with HIV — was thrown into immigration detention for 46 days after a short backpacking trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can read more about Denis here. After two court hearings in April, and with the support of the press and influential Members of Congress, we were able to secure Denis’s release!
While we celebrate Denis’s freedom, he NEVER should have been detained in the first place. We are currently challenging the system that targeted Denis in the courts. In the meantime, we want you and your family to stay safe. You can find advice about your rights and about whether it is safe for you to travel here.
What happened to Denis is happening to other LGBTQ immigrants right now. To support our work to keep asylum-seekers safe, and to fight against a system that puts them in danger in the first place, please consider taking the following actions:
- Share our Know Your Rights information with anyone you think might benefit from it,
- Make a monthly donation in support Immigration Equality, and/or
- Create a Crowdrise fundraising page to encourage others to support our work.
Right now, information is our best protection, so please share this advice widely. Stay safe. And if you need us, we will always be here for you.
Aaron C. Morris,
Executive Director, Immigration Equality