Lambda Legal Marks May Day with Call for Increased Visibility for LGBT and HIV+ Immigrants

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May 1, 2015
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Lambda Legal marked May 1st, International Worker’s Day, with a call for supporting efforts to bring visibility to LGBT immigrants, especially those who are undocumented. Francisco Dueñas, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Proyecto Igualdad, and Carmina Ocampo, Lambda Legal’s lead attorney on immigrants’ rights issues, issued the following statement:

For many years, the movement to bring about reform of our country’s immigration laws has adopted May 1st as a day of action. From large cities to small towns across America, immigrants labor in fields, factories and shops, contributing immense social and economic value but often remaining unseen and unappreciated by many in their communities. These workers, like everyone who works hard to build and sustain these United States, deserve to a way to come within the law and to integrate safely and fully into their communities.

LGBT immigrants, in particular, whether brought to the United States by family connections or having fled persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status in their countries of origin, may find themselves in dual closets in their new country—feeling pressure to conceal their status as LGBT or HIV positive, and also their status as undocumented. As welcoming communities gather throughout the country today, Lambda Legal calls for greater appreciation and integration of LGBT immigrants, and immigrants in general. We are heartened by the increased awareness of the needs of our Nation’s newer immigrants and attention on ways to coordinate better for their integration, as exemplified by the recently released report from the White House Task Force on New Americans.

In communities with large, visible LGBT populations, such as West Hollywood in California and Chelsea in Manhattan, immigrants, both LGBT and not, are residents, visitors, workers, and community leaders. Our LGBT movement knows well that inclusion and visibility are essential. Lambda Legal therefore supports both of these aims for our country’s immigrants. We invite our community to join May Day marchers throughout the country, especially those in our LGBT-friendly cities and neighborhoods.

Read the press release.