“We welcome today’s announcement as a first step towards repairing a broken and discriminatory immigration system that has victimized undocumented immigrants and their families, including at least 267,000 undocumented people who identify as LGBT,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Policy Director Maya Rupert. “We applaud the vision and courage of our President in making good on his promise to act on immigration reform. We know that this is a first step and we are gratified that many of the cruel policies of the past will be replaced with more humane and effective strategies. However, we remain deeply concerned that the plan leaves out too many LGBT immigrant families. LGBT families are less likely to have legally recognized or biological relationships with each other, and thus relief based wholly on familial ties will exclude too many LGBT families. In addition, many of the restrictions requiring consistent employment and limiting access for people with non-violent criminal histories will disproportionately impact LGBT immigrants, especially in the transgender community.”
Francisco Dueñas, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Proyecto Igualdad at Lambda Legal stated:
"While we praise President Obama’s efforts to do what is in his executive power to improve immigration, we are deeply disappointed that his plan unfairly excludes many members of the LGBT community. President Obama’s plan allows immigrants who have children who are citizens or lawful permanent residents to obtain legal work documents and temporarily be protected from deportation.The president said it's not perfect, so I hope these pieces are noted and considered in later plans.
"We urge President Obama to undertake reforms that are more LGBT-inclusive, such as recognizing length of residency as a stand-alone qualification. Thousands of LGBT immigrants, many who have fled countries where LGBT people are unprotected and subjected to horrific abuse and violence, have been waiting for humane immigration reform for years due to Congressional inaction and cannot afford to wait any longer.
"This effort by the President does not absolve Congress of its responsibility to provide a permanent fix to our outdated immigration system so that it is fair to all the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US today, waiting to be fully American. So while we commend this order for providing much-needed immediate relief to many undocumented immigrants, we note that requiring individuals to have children disproportionately excludes LGBT immigrants who are childless because the barriers to creating a family are higher for people who cannot afford assisted reproduction or are disqualified from adoption by antigay laws.
"We need a plan that recognizes community ties and longtime residency."