Saturday, April 26, 2014

LGBT asylum assistance is really two issues (for those overseas, for those already here); another assistance fund, and another upcoming meeting in DC

There seem to be two different sets of problems getting set up with respect to LGBT people from hostile countries seeking asylum here.   
One of these would be raising money to move LGBT people in immediate danger our of countries with the most eminently life-threatening situations, as with Nigeria and Uganda particularly.  The “Safe Passage Fund” mentioned April 21 would do that.  But there seem to be other funds.  Attorney Melanie Nathan discusses an Escape Fund (or "Rescue Fund 2") on her blog with this entry here.
Again, what would be important would be whether regular contributions could be funneled “impersonally” through a bank or trust.  Contributions to these funds appear not to be tax-deductible.

But there are a substantial number of such LGBT people already in the US (and in Canada, Britain and other western countries) whose visas can expire and who can face deportation, which can endanger their lives in some cases.  In a few cases, a few persons seem to have arrived in the US somehow but have no funds or papers and are homeless and perhaps here illegally.  There are organizations in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC to provide some assistance.  The issue of people already here could create an urgency reminiscent of that with the Cuban refugees in southern US in 1980. One can imagine situations where the government allows visas to be extended or asylum granted only when there is some kind of personal sponsorship, although this is obviously a loaded and speculative issue.  (Imagine the idea that someone could be pressured to marry an immigrant seeking asylum, in states allowing it. Obviously, this is a murky area that the US State Department, at least, is going to be slow to comment on.)  The Center for LGBT Equality in Washington DC says it will hold a public meeting on the matter on May 30, 2014, but the place has yet to be announced (link here).  There was a smaller meeting open only to clients and their attorneys on April 19
A group called “immigration equality” publishes a complex legal guide here.
Another “Blogger” essay explains the “philosophy of continuity of life” in tribal African culture here

Update: May 28, 2014

The meeting on asylum actually took place in 2013 (not this year).  I'll try to fund out what was said at it, since the issue would seem to have become much more acute since then.  

No comments: