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Study findings on LGBT asylum applicants

Currently, there are several circumstances under which foreign nationals can file for protection in the United States. The specific categories of persecution include: race, nationality, religion and affiliation to a specific political opinion or social group. Many people currently living in cities like Miami qualify for asylum in the U.S. However, countless others may not be aware of the fact that they can seek protection and legal permanent resident status in this country.

30 years ago, a Cuban refugee successfully filed an asylum claim in the U.S. on the grounds of persecution in his country of origin for his sexual orientation. The case set precedent for persecution for sexual orientation being grounds for asylum protection. Today, however, some evidence suggests that few LGBT immigrants in the U.S. are familiar with such asylum guidelines or pursue protections for themselves.

The Center for American Progress recently published a report on asylum and immigration protections for LGBT foreign nationals, and found that there are several factors that play a role in when and whether immigrants pursue asylum claims. According to the report, the one-year deadline on filing an asylum claim is often missed by LGBT immigrants because they are traumatized and/or unaware of the guidelines. The report explains that foreign nationals who have been persecuted in their country of origin for issues concerning gender identity and/or sexual orientation can have a difficult time disclosing such information to government officials for immigration purposes. Beyond that, it was also determined that LGBT immigrants who are allowed to pursue their asylum claims with US Citizenship and Immigration Services are more likely to win their case than those who are held in detention or deportation proceedings.

Source: Miami Herald, “Report: LGBT immigrants may obtain asylum easier if they are not in detention deportation proceedings,” Alfonso Chardy, June 19, 2015

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