Press Release


Press Contacts:

No Pride Without LGBTQ2S+ Access to Asylum

WashingtonThere is no Pride while LGBTQIA+ people are blocked from seeking asylum in the US. 

That was the message sent by diverse leaders in a press webinar hosted by the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign for asylum rights. 

Download a recording of the webinar

Estuardo Cifuentes
, Client Services Manager with Lawyers for Good Government’s Project Corazon (and an individual seeking asylum), provided a firsthand account of the challenges LGBTQ+ asylum seekers encounter based on his personal experience fleeing Guatemala, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community who faced violent persecution. “Having personally endured the perils of the Remain in Mexico program under the previous administration, I am deeply troubled by the ongoing challenges faced by LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. The policies may have changed, but the situation has only worsened, leaving them in a constant state of vulnerability and uncertainty. The lack of security, basic resources, and adequate shelters continues to exacerbate the already dire situation faced by LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. It is heart-wrenching to witness thousands of migrants, including families with children, living on the streets without access to essentials, compelled to make the agonizing choice between seeking an appointment or feeding their loved ones. Project Corazon remains committed to providing vital legal assistance to vulnerable migrants and defending their rights throughout their asylum journey.”

Zack Mohamed
, Deportation Defense Coordinator, Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, said he and his comrades envision a world where there is no forced migration, where no one is forced to give up their homeland, and where all Black LGBTQIA+ people are free and liberated. Recent and previous laws in Uganda, Nigeria, and Jamaica, for example, have condemned one’s sexual identity and orientation. As one flees persecution from their home to find sanctuary and asylum in the U.S. they are met with violence, criminalization, and anti-Blackness. Biden’s new rule further exacerbates the trauma and anguish asylum seekers have dealt with for years. We have given the current and previous administrations solutions and answers to support and welcome asylum seekers; we can’t wait for another traumatic incident, death or family separation. The time is now for the current administration to exercise the powers they have to help asylum seekers rather than criminalizing them.”

Nicole Ramos,
Border Rights Project Director with Al Otro Lado, said, “What we’ve seen over the past eight years are government efforts to install more barbed wire, more CBP officers, more filtration and document check points operated by Mexican government officials, in collaboration with and under the direction of CBP—which gives the Mexican government millions of dollars every year to police the border.

“One case our office is working on right now is of a trans person from Central America. They have been the victim of sex trafficking in Mexico, and brutal torture. They currently suffer from injuries inflicted by this torture, as well as suicidal ideation. This person doesn’t have access to the legal process to save their lives. Instead, our staff has to beg the US government so that this person can access asylum outside of these policies, which are designed to deny them access. 

“Asylum seekers with the most urgent needs are being denied access to the border. But seeking asylum is a legal right.”

Immigration Equality’s Executive Director, Aaron C. Morris
responded with strong condemnation of President Biden’s new rule. “This rule is particularly damning to LGBTQ asylum seekers. LGBTQ people are disproportionately targeted for horrible abuse on their way to seek safety in the United States. They are regularly beaten, raped, and killed. And so, creating any obstacle or delay for them to seek safety will have deadly consequences. Sexual orientation and gender identity are solidly protected human rights in U.S. asylum law, and most LGBTQ asylum seekers have meritorious claims. This rule would strip many of them of their right to a day in court, and subject them to months or years of persecution,” he said.

“The International Mayan League, the only organization led by Maya women and youth in the United States, recognizes, supports, and celebrates the diversity of Maya communities no both in our ancestral lands and in the diaspora,” said
Dr. Emil’ Keme, (K’iche’ Maya), Cultural Advisor with the Mayan League.  “Against a backdrop of mounting human rights violations specifically  targeting the Kab’awil, Kot, Winaq, Muxe, Two-Spirit, and LGBTQ2S+ community, we stress the critical need to ensure the right to seek asylum for all peoples fleeing persecution. Hate and discrimination lead to violence and even death. In the U.S., the Joe Biden administration promised to implement a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system that would uphold its duty to asylum seekers and refugees. Keep your promise.”   

Download a recording of the press conference here.




Join the movement and sign our pledge to #WelcomeWithDignity.


The #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: