deportationsLGBTQ Organizations Denounce White House’s Broken Promises on Immigration

After vowing in June that he would take executive action “before the end of the summer” to stop the senseless and inhumane rate of deportations under his administration, President Obama broke his promise this Saturday and delayed any slowing of the deportation machine until after the midterm elections in November.  Joining innumerable immigrant and civil rights organizations, LGBTQ organizations denounce this cynical, political calculation, which at the current rate of 1,100 deportations per day will lead to 70,000 more deportations and a continuation of 34,000 people caged in immigration detention centers every single night. Among these numbers include countless LGBTQ immigrants.

For example, Marichuy Leal Gamino is a transgender woman who grew up in Arizona and is detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the for-profit Eloy Detention Center. Despite the Prison Rape Elimination Act regulations that state that transgender people must be given the opportunity to be housed according to their gender identity, with the transgender person’s safety as the primary consideration, Immigration & Customs Enforcement chose to ignore the law and Marichuy’s safety by detaining her in the male population. When she reported threats by her cellmate, guards told her to just “deal with it,” and her cellmate ended up violently raping her. Guards then attempted to pressure her to claim that the rape was consensual. After ICE headquarters became aware of the attack, Marichuy was placed in solitary confinement for two days against her will. Her family is desperately worried about her.

Another individual, Miguel Armenta, is a gay man living with cancer, hepatitis and HIV who is detained at the for-profit Northwest Detention Center. He is not receiving the care he needs and has been torn away from Dennis, his U.S. citizen husband of six years. Because ICE has shown again and again that they are incapable of detaining LGBTQ people with even minimal levels of dignity and safety, a broad coalition has been working to free Marichuy and Dennis from immigration detention so that they can heal in the arms of their loving families and communities.

LGBTQ organizations have been continuously calling on President Obama to act to end the violence, degradation, and abuse faced by immigrants targeted and punished by ICE. We call on President Obama to act immediately to institute our previous recommendations to: “(1) suspend these deportations and ICE detainer requests; (2) expand the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to as many people as possible under the law; and (3) revise detention policies to dramatically curtail the use of detention, including ending the detention of vulnerable individuals such as those who are LGBT, pregnant, or have disabilities, and of any person who poses no risk to public safety, and defining mandatory custody to include alternatives to detention.”

While the LGBTQ community applauds President Obama’s executive order this summer that protected employees of federal contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the issue of immigration raises huge contradictions in the administration’s intent to protect LGBTQ people. The President can and must also use his executive authority to stop the federal government’s attacks on the immigrant members of our families and community.

Transgender Law Center

Southerners On New Ground

Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Alliance For Full Acceptance

Arcoíris Liberation Team

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Audre Lorde Project

BreakOUT!

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Community United Against Violence

Courage Campaign

DeColores Queer Orange County (DCQOC)

El/La Para TransLatinas

Equality Louisiana

Equality New Mexico

FORGE, Inc.

Forward Together

Gender Justice Nevada

GetEQUAL

GetEqual VA

GSA Network

Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC)

LGBT Center of Orange County

Louisiana Trans Advocates

Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

New York City Anti-Violence Project

Our Family Coalition

Out4Immigration

People Organizing Power

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaP Co)

Soulforce

Streetwise and Safe (SAS)

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition

The Association of Latino/as Motivating Action (ALMA)

The Civil Rights Agenda

The Queer Network

Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico

Translatin@ Coalition

TransOhio

United Latin@ Pride

Urban Justice Center

Virginia Integrity Project

Young Women United