Saturday, April 01, 2017

Immigrants' right group discusses detention for LGBT people at meeting in Washington DC today

Today, DC Center Global for the LGBT Community in Washington DC held a meeting that included a 90-minute presentation with QA by Kathryn M. Doan, Executive Director of Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR).

I had mentioned the organization and my previous knowledge of it in a posting on my own “footnotes blog” March 29 here.

The focus of the group was people in detention.  Someone who tells immigration he or she fears returning after expiration of a visa or on entry is usually placed in detention.  There are no detention facilities in the District of Columbia, but there are two in Virginia (Farmville and one near Williamsburg) and three in Maryland (Frederck, Ellicott City, and near Snow Hill MD on the Eastern Shore).  The Farmville facility is privately owned but run like a dormitory.

Persons can be “paroled out” sometimes, upon identification and provision by private source of housing. That is where Center Global might be able to assist.  However, I recall being told at a forum for refugee placement last July that Virginia law allows placement of refugees (and presumably asylum seekers) in private homes only of persons who knew the person before arrival in the country (usually relatives).  This would appear to be a difficult operation, unless the facts about a particular person in detention are somehow well known and verifiable.

It is not believed that the Trump administration has any inclination to try to narrow the application of the “credible fear” or “particular social group” concept in asylum seeking.  The administration appears willing to accept sexual orientation and gender identity as immutable traits in settled law.
However, the outcome of asylum claims tends to depend on the judges.  More judges from border areas may have duty soon in Arlington and in Baltimore, and judges or adjudicators in border areas seem to be stricter.  The Atlanta area has one of the worst approval rates.

Persons at airports trying to enter do not have constitutional protection until they clear customs.  Persons who are temporarily detained should “say nothing” and not give authorities real probable cause to detain them.

Persons who travel regularly overseas may find more interruptions in the Trump era, including citizens.  Persons from European countries who expect to earn a living in the US (such as musicians and actors) and with well established work records in the US (and perhaps Canada) should well consider citizenship application if possible.

Many travelers should consider wiping their phones.  I could add that LGBT US citizens who are public on media or online have to be careful about travel to non-democratic countries, including Russia, most Muslim countries, some African countries, which can be a serious matter for some employment or humanitarian work.  I wonder about popular tourist places like Egypt and Dubai,  Indeed the destruction in Iraq in areas with some of the world’s oldest civilizations is a real tragedy.

I did hear of an incident where someone traveling with methanol (I don’t know why) was forced to consume it at an airport and died quickly.

Here's a typical article on detention of LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers. In NYC there is a Queer Detainee's Empowerment Project (QDEP) which deserves more reporting.

CG said it was considering having some public town halls soon.

Update: May 5, 2017

The Washington Post has an important story by Michael E. Miller in the Metro section about "immigrant bail" practices out of detention, and the company Libre by Nexus, mentioned in the meeting April 1 by CAIR, link here.

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