inFOCUS – How will LGBTQ asylum seekers be impacted by Trump’s immigration reform proposal?


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) — Back in June, the Trump administration drafted a proposal that would place more restrictions on asylum seekers seeking refuge in the united states at U.S. borders — but how will this proposal impact LGBTQ immigrants specifically?

Members of the community say these changes could create barriers for them to be allowed into the country.

“The rule received nearly 89,000 comments, which is a staggering number of comments, most of them in opposition,” said Azadeh Erfani, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Immigrant Justice Center.

Erfani says one of the biggest concerns amongst LGBTQ activists is the regulation that immigrants would have to identify with social groups their first day in court. Activists believe that immigrants fearing persecution for their gender identity will have a difficult time coming out to the judge.

“They have to disclose often times very intimate facts about themselves in order to really lay out the claims on their persecution,” she said.

Senior Director for the Center for American Progress, Sharita Gruberg, says another concern is being denied for using false identification.

“LGBTQ folks, particularly trans folks, in countries where they’re facing persecution, are not necessarily going to have access to the travel documents they need to officially enter a new country,” said Gruberg.

And Geoffrey Louden who is the Chair of Center Global, says that LGBTQ immigrants may not have access to a support network back home due to anti-LGBTQ sentiment.

“In addition to coming to the United States, uprooting their lives, not knowing anyone here, they’re also not able to find the support networks that other asylum seekers might necessarily know they have access to,” he said.

The stricter legislation comes as a way to screen asylum cases easier and faster.

“It basically tries to screen out cases before they reach their merits and what that means is that people are going to be denied their day in court,” said Erfani.

However, conservatives say that the immigration system has been abused for years. Conservative activist Joe Visconti says tighter restrictions will prevent those who are falsely seeking asylum from entry.

“The federal government does not allow illegal aliens to be harbored…so that’s what the wall is for,” said Visconti. “But the reality is Trump is trying to do a broad stroke to make a program that will make it much more difficult for people to fake that they are seeking asylum.”

The solution to LGBTQ abuse and violence, he says, is to put pressure on the United Nations to address the abuse of the community in the countries they are fleeing from.

“Many of them are coming from countries that oppose gays…this is something that should be addressed, I think, with the United Nations,” said Visconti. “Trump is the easy blame. America is the easy blame, and we are not the policemen of the world, and we’re not the caretakers of the world.”

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