Immigration for the past few years has been a delicate and complicated subject as every few weeks it seems as we have been having to learn about a new regulation, law, legal decision, or policy that has been restricting the rights of immigrants to come to the United States, legalize and live normal lives. The U.S. has not been the only country having issues that impact immigrants and other marginalized groups. As nationalism has risen throughout the globe, we have seen a backlash against minorities, immigrants, and persons in the LGBTQ+ community.
We have seen this with the uptick in minorities being beaten and killed in the USA and with shifts in our immigration policies. We have seen Venezuela fall, Britain goes through Brexit, Brazil elects a president with strong nationalistic and homophobic positions as well as Peru going through an election where one of the two contenders has all but stated his intent to stay in power if elected. For immigrants in the LGBTQ+ community, this often means a double assault they are marginalized for their sexual preference as well as for their immigration status or for the color of their skin. This has been a tough time for the community.
Thankfully in the USA, there are some options for those immigrants in the LGBTQ+ community who wish to legalize their status and for those who fear returning to their home country due to violence against the LGBTQ+ communities.
Those in the LGBTQ+ community who are married and entered with a visa can adjust their status through their U.S. Citizen spouse. Those who have suffered abuse in their home country can apply for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the convention against torture if they fear returning to their home country. Those who entered without inspection but who have married can apply for a provisional waiver based on harm to their spouse if they had to relocate to a country where their sexual orientation would put them in harm’s way. All persons deserve dignity and respect and although we are currently living in a time where many have forgotten to love rather than judge their neighbor, we should all do our part to respect each other.
Abraham Cepeda, Attorney at Law