LGBT Immigration Activists Make A Deal With Congressional Equality Caucus

By Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

Originally published on Advocate.com August 01 2014 2:21 PM ET

LGBT and immigration activists reached an agreement with the LGBT Equality Caucus to urge President Obama to consider LGBT-specific issues in any executive order he may issue regarding immigration reform.

The agreement, made between Southerners On New Ground (SONG), Familia: Trans and Queer Liberation Movement, and LGBT Equality Caucus executive director Brad Jacklin, came after a seven-hour sit-in staged at the office of out Congressman Mark Takano on Wednesday.

“We certainly heard [the activists’] concerns,” Jacklin told BuzzFeed. “I can’t speak for individual members of the Equality Caucus, but generally, people were and are sympathetic to their concerns. We are going to continue to work with the activists who came in today and engage with them and hopefully come to a good place where we’re able to support their efforts.”

The protesters made four specific demands of the caucus, asking that the group include LGBT issues in its recommendation to the president on how to address the current crisis in immigration. Those suggestions include immediate administrative relief — including the expansion of the president's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals bill to its fullest extent — and work authorization for LGBTQ-identified and HIV-positive undocumented immigrants. The activists also suggest that administrative relief should be expanded to include LGBT undocumented immigrants who have been criminalized for their survival or existence in their native countries.

Pointing to well-documented issues regarding the safety and security of LGBT people in immigration detention centers, the activists also demanded that LGBT people should not be detained in solitary confinement when in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, and that all programs that allow federal immigration authorities to collaborate with local law enforcement to profile people based on race, gender, and sexuality should be put to an end.

Read the activists' full list of demands here