November 21, 2014
Statement of GLAD Deputy Director Janson Wu:
The Executive Order is a historic step forward for immigrants living in the United States. We welcome the opening this provides to millions who will now be able to live and work in dignity and without the fear of deportation. But we are deeply concerned about the fact that critical members of the LGBT community were excluded from a law designed to protect vulnerable people.
In particular, the President’s plan proposes allowing undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the country for at least five years to receive deferrals from deportation and receive work permits. This focus on formal familial ties to a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident ignores the reality that the U.S. and many other countries have long refused to recognize LGBT families, and therefore excludes many LGBT immigrants from this critical immigration benefit. Moreover, this focus excludes the many LGBT immigrants who are without children but who are in desperate need of relief.
Many LGBT immigrants come from countries where their safety is not guaranteed simply because of who they are, for instance GLAD’s client John Abdallah Wambere of Uganda. We worry about those extremely vulnerable people who would be left out of this relief package.
Ultimately, Congress and the President must act together to ensure comprehensive immigration reform that respects the lives and dignity of all undocumented immigrants living and working in our country. GLAD will work with allies moving forward to ensure that our immigration laws are inclusive and humane to all.