US: Activists calling for LGBT inclusion in immigration reform stage sit-in

Katie Dupere July 30, 2014
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A group of LGBT activists have staged a sit-in on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, saying they won’t leave the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus until the caucus issues a statement urging President Obama to include LGBT populations in potential executive action on immigration.

Hermelinda Cortes of Southerners on New Ground said to Buzzfeed: “We’re asking for the caucus to release a statement today. We will be sitting in until that demand is met or we are arrested.”

Equality Caucus executive director Brad Jacklin told BuzzFeed the caucus will meet with the activists to discuss the groups concerns and demands.

A letter was issued to the caucus last Friday by activists, LGBT rights groups, and immigration rights groups, stating: “[W]e know that the White House is in motion to act on immigration and we are calling on the Equality Caucus to use its influence to advocate for the needs of LGBTQ immigrants.”

In the letter, the activists demand eliminating solitary confinement as a means for immigration officials to “protect” LGBT people from harm while in custody.

They’ve also requested medical care access be expanded to include populations within the LGBT community that require special access to medical care, like HIV positive individuals and transgender individuals.

According to the Williams Institute, there are more than 267,000 undocumented LGBT people living in the US.

Video of the sit-in is streaming here.

Earlier this month, Jose Antonio Vargas, a noted activist for both LGBT rights and the rights of undocumented people, was detained for several hours by Border Patrol in Texas after attempting to board a plane to Los Angeles.

More: Americas, Capitol Hill, DC, immigration, undocumented, US, Washington

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