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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 3 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 40
Jim McDermott signs on to letter demanding protection for LGBT immigrants
Section One
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Jim McDermott signs on to letter demanding protection for LGBT immigrants

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle area Congressman Jim McDermott has signed on to a letter to President Obama urging him to include protections for LGBT immigrants in future executive orders on immigration reform.

Obama had promised to issue executive orders on immigration by the end of this summer, but later said he would postpone action until after the November elections.

McDermott joined forty-three other members of Congress in signing the letter, including veteran members John Conyers (D-MI), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

The effort was organized by U.S. Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI) - both openly Gay - Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

'We cannot truly fix our broken immigration system if Congress will not send a comprehensive reform bill to your desk,' the Representatives wrote, in a slap at the Congressional Republicans who have blocked immigration reform proposals.

'By exercising your power to implement administrative policies that take into account the uniquely dangerous and difficult circumstances facing LGBT immigrants, you have the ability to protect thousands of individuals immediately,' the letter went on.

'[I]t is imperative that you use the tools at your disposal to ensure that families stay together, that immigrants are not put in harm's way, and that LGBT people are not subjected, at the hands of the American government, to the dangers from which they have fled.'

According to the Congress members, there are 267,000 LGBT immigrants now in the U.S., 'many of whom came to this country to escape threats and extreme violence.' LGBT immigrants may be separated from their partners and may also face violence in detention, they added.

The Representatives also noted that existing polices make 'at-risk LGBT immigrants much less likely to qualify for protection.'

They asked the President to defer action on deportations for LGBT immigrants in the same way that he did for the so-called DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and grew up in this country.

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