Over 400 Attend Center’s Immigration Fair; City Council Praises Services for LGBT Immigrants Program
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center has devoted the entire month of April to the issue of immigration and how it affects LGBTQ People. Our Cultural Programs department has hosted nearly a dozen events, ranging from “Strategies for Winning Asylum by Overcoming Stereotypes in Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” to “Immigration’s Impact on the Political Agenda.” And during Immigrant Heritage Week we hosted our “Third Annual LGBTQ Immigration Fair,” an event to connect LGBTQ immigrants to service providers that can address their unique needs. The Center’s Services for LGBT Immigrants’ Social Action Group worked tirelessly to organize the fair and their efforts paid off, as over 400 people attended the gathering.
These events give a glimpse into the vital work our Center does each and every day throughout the year to help LGBTQ immigrant populations find support in all aspects of their lives and we were honored to be presented with an official Proclamation from the New York City Council, praising our Services for LGBT Immigrants Program. The proclamation, signed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, read in part:
“WHERAS: LGBT immigrants sometime flee their native country when merely being gay may be illegal, punishable by prison, and, in some cases, punishable by death. On this occasion, it is a great privilege to pay tribute to Immigration Services Program at the Center in New York City for its extraordinary support of LGBT immigrants facing these injustices and many other important concerns; and
“WHERAS: LGBT immigrants endure legal discrimination in many ways and need support for residency, mental health, HIV, family and other concerns. They also face numerous unique challenges, including their status as nearly invisible, highly stigmatized and marginalized individuals who often reside in generally underserved communities. Often, their undocumented immigration status interferes with access to their basic needs for shelter, health, employment, legal matters. These challenges are frequently compounded by social isolation from other LGBT immigrants, country of origin, asylum or residency, language issues, and more; and
“WHERAS: LGBT immigrants who visit the Center often seek help with dealing with the increased barriers to employment along with increased stigmatization and violence. They share how increasingly difficult it is to access and information that can assist them towards obtaining legal documentation. At the same time, they reveal the negative impact immigration barriers have on bi-national couples and their families. Due to the current inability for an American Citizen to sponsor their foreign born partners, LGBT individuals endure a devastating impact on finances, health and mobility of their families. Many nationals are forces to relocate abroad in order to keep their families together; and
“WHERAS: The Center has always been a tremendous resource for LGBT immigrants. Services for asylum cases include: information and referrals, assessments and short-term counseling, letters of support in asylum cases when warranted, support groups and a social action group; and
“WHEREAS: The Center worked in coalition with other organizations as part of a movement wide effort to end the HIV immigration and travel ban. After two decades of discrimination and stigma, this went into effect on January 4th, 2010. The Center also worked in coalition on the Uniting American Families Act, as well as on state identification issues which impact immigrant, transgender, young and homeless people; now therefore
“BE IT KNOWN: “That the Council of the City of New York gratefully honors the LGBT Center’s Immigration Services Program.”
As immigrant populations in this city reach and begin to exceed 40% of the population, the Center will continue supporting LGBTQ immigrants so they can bring all of themselves to this city and achieve all of their dreams. Congratulations to our Services for LGBT Immigrants Program and its extremely devoted Social Action Group!
If you are interested in the Center’s Services for LGBT Immigrants, you can learn more about the program by visiting this page on our website.