Family Equality Council Calls on Senate to Pass Clean DREAM Act

Family Equality Council signed a letter to the Senate with one hundred immigration, refugee, faith, education, children’s, labor, human rights and civil liberties organizations urging Senators to pass the DREAM Act, while rejecting proposals that would punish asylum seekers and vulnerable children or abolish the limited protections created by Congress to prevent their return to persecution, trafficking, and other serious harms.

10% of DREAMers (immigrants who came to the United States as children and are under age 30) identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.  Family Equality Council calls on the Senate to pass a clean DREAM Act without tying it to mass deportations, construction of a border wall, the termination of the diversity visa program, or the stripping of due process protections from immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers including children.

Central America has some of the highest murder rates of LGBTQ people in the world, resulting in an enormous influx into the U.S. of LGBT unaccompanied refugee minors and adult asylum seekers.  There are numerous documented instances where the deportation of unaccompanied minors and asylum seekers has resulted in their deaths including the recent case of a gay Honduran who fled his country at age 17.

Family Equality Council works in partnership with the Center for American Progress, the ACLU, and other immigrant, refugee, and criminal justice advocates to ensure protections for LGBTQ unaccompanied refugee minors.  These immigrant minors are at greater risk for violence, abuse, and discrimination while in U.S. custody or foster care.

Family Equality Council opposes any new restrictions on asylum seekers, which disproportionately impact LGBTQ people seeking sanctuary from horrific violence in their home countries.  For example, transgender women asylum seekers detained in the U.S. while their cases are considered are almost always placed in all male facilities, where they are thirteen times more likely to be raped than other detainees.  Many of these detainees have been placed in solitary confinement for weeks or months for their “protection” – despite the fact that the U.N. has called such extended solitary confinement a form of torture.  Family Equality Council calls on Congress to improve, not diminish, protections for these survivors of violence.

LGBTQ Americans have only been able to sponsor our foreign national same-sex partners — and our children from these partnerships — for immigration since 2013 when the Supreme Court found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. Thus we understand the devastating consequences of restrictions in family immigration which result in families being torn apart. Family Equality Council calls on the Senate to oppose cuts to the family-based legal immigration system.  Instead, Congress should act to end the extensive backlogs in family applications and improve processing times of family immigration applications in the future.