Protect LGBT Asylum Seekers

 

The governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have failed to effectively address violence and entrenched discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, leading many to seek asylum in the United States. Yet policies by the administration of US President Donald Trump have made it almost impossible for them to obtain asylum.
 

Transcript

Carlos G.
I arrived with the caravan. I decided to come to the United States to seek asylum. I left Honduras because I was being threatened. The truth is that I was about to lose my life.

Neela Ghoshal
LGBT people in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala suffer discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Carlos faced violence and threats. One day he was attacked by gang members.

Carlos G.
One day, I was walking in a dark area and four or five guys came to me and surrounded me, they told me that this day it was my turn. We fought and then they shot me in the back.

Neela Ghoshal
The police came to the hospital but Carlos chose not tell them what happened. In Honduras, as well as in Guatemala and El Salvador, LGBT people often face additional discrimination and sometimes violence from the very law enforcement agents charged with keeping them safe. Carlos himself had faced sexual harassment from the police.

Carlos G.
My interaction with the police has been very different. Because I think the police doesn’t support the LGBT community.

Neela Ghoshal
In late 2018, Carlos left Honduras and travelled through Guatemala and Mexico to seek asylum in the US. 

Carlos G.
We endured a lot of hunger, heat, sleeping on the floor, sleeping in the mountains. I saw how people died, they fell from trucks. It was a very horrible experience.

Neela Ghoshal
Carlos arrived in the US just in time before the country closed its doors to most asylum seekers traveling north. In recent years, the US government has implemented a series of policies that restrict access to asylum and that narrowly interpret the refugee definition in ways that may exclude LGBT people. Most recently, Customs and Border Protection have used the pandemic as cover to turn away most asylum seekers.

Carlos G.
I did receive asylum. But the process was difficult because I was making my case from immigration detention.

Neela Ghoshal
The governments of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala should take meaningful steps to protect LGBT people from violence and discrimination. Meanwhile the US should reverse its harmful policies that limit protection for LGBT asylum seekers and allow more people like Carlos to seek safety.

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