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Administrative action on immigration must include LGBT immigrants

Last week Jose Magana-Salgado and Caroline Dessert of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Immigration Equality, respectively, published an excellent Op-Ed in The Hill arguing for executive action on immigration that guarantees the rights of LGBT immigrants. Magana-Salgado and Dessert praise the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by the Obama administration 2 years ago and believe it is a good blueprint for future administrative action.However, they urge the President to take into account the particular challenges that face the LGBT immigrant community. Magana-Salgado and Dessert note that it is often very difficult for undocumented LGBT immigrants to establish qualifying relationships and a new law that granted relief based on relationships to legal permanent residents, US Citizens, and DACA recipients could potentially exclude 267,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants. Magana-Salgado and Dessert explain,

“Limiting affirmative relief to only those with legally-recognized familial relationships willfully ignores the recency of positive changes in the legal landscape and the long-standing economic and social barriers that historically prevented undocumented LGBT immigrants from forming those relationships.”

It’s especially important for undocumented LGBT immigrants to receive administrative relief because such immigrants face systemic abuse in detention centers, including solitary confinement, sexual assault and inadequate medical care. Magan-Salgado and Dessert make an excellent argument and their piece is worth the read. You can find it at The Hill.

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