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Obama to Halt Deportation of Undocumented Youth

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June 15, 2012
Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Iván Espinoza-Madrigal

After the announcement that the U.S. will stop deportation proceedings for many undocumented youth Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney:

"This is great news for millions of young people who will no longer live under the threat of being removed to countries where they may not ever have lived or even speak the language. Many of them openly identify as LGBT, and their work and activism shows how the movement for immigrants' rights is inextricably intertwined with the LGBT struggle for equality.  In fact, there is an indissoluble link between the struggle for immigrants' rights and the fight for LGBT equality, because the LGBT community encompasses not only binational same-sex couples and LGBT asylum-seekers, but also undocumented LGBT immigrants who are often trapped in a 'double closet.'  Many of these young people have already contributed to our country in significant ways.  They should not be deported to countries, where they may be at imminent risk of persecution on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.   
"Although this is a step in the right direction, the new policy does not change the legal landscape for most LGBT immigrants.  Because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), binational same-sex couples are still unfairly denied the opportunity, afforded to different-sex couples, to request immigration protection and relief for a foreign-born spouse.  DOMA is unconstitutional and should be repealed.  We also need comprehensive immigration reform that is fair to everyone, and inclusive of LGBT immigrants and their families."