Cornell Law School’s Advocacy for LGBT Communities Clinic and United We Dream’s Queer Undocumented Immigrants Project (“QUIP”) presented their report on the enforcement-only immigration bills currently proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives. The report called Broken Dreams: How Enforcement-Only Bills in the House of Representatives Threaten to Further Marginalize the LGBT Undocumented was released at a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., on November 20.
The panelists included Cristina Quinones-Betancourt '14 of Cornell Law School’s LGBT Clinic, Juan Carlos Ramos of QUIP, Olga Tomchin of the Transgender Law Center, and Marco Quiroga of Immigration Equality. The panelists discussed the effects on LGBT immigrants of the SAFE Act, the Legal Workforce Act, the Agricultural Guestworker Act, and the SKILLS Visa Act.
“These bills make a broken immigration system even worse and will subject thousands of LGBT people to violence and uncertainty,” said Quinones-Betancourt.“This would criminalize 30 percent of all LGBT immigrants living in the United States today.”
Quinones-Betancourt spoke of additional risks that LGBT immigrants face, adding, “This can be problematic for members of the LGBT community because they can be deported to countries that are hostile to LGBT individuals.”
Juan Carlos Ramos of QUIP described his own experience as an undocumented immigrant and gay man. He remembers being put into a detention center for two days when he arrived in the United States as a child. He has suffered discrimination as a member of two minority communities and, as a result, has decided to speak out on this issue.
Olga Thomchin of the Transgender Law Center explained that “Many trans people fled their home countries because they experienced violence and they thought they would be safer in the United States.” But as it turns out, “Trans people have experienced such high rates of violence in both their home countries and in the United States, that as a result, many suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome."
"It was great to see such a large turnout for the briefing,” said Susan Hazeldean, assistant clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School and the director of the Law School’s LGBT Clinic. “Meaningful immigration reform is critical for the LGBT community, especially the hundreds of thousands who are undocumented."