Los Angeles LGBT Center Joins Coalition of Organizations to Urge Federal Legislators to Immediately Pass DREAM Act and Save LGBT Young People from Deportation - Los Angeles LGBT Center

Los Angeles LGBT Center Joins Coalition of Organizations to Urge Federal Legislators to Immediately Pass DREAM Act and Save LGBT Young People from Deportation

December 4, 2017
Contact: Gil Diaz
323-993-7604

With the joint support of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Equality California (EQCA), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), CenterLink, Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), UCLA Dream Resource Center, and LGBT Center OC, several undocumented LGBT young people shared their fears of deportation at a news conference today held at the Center’s Mi Centro in Boyle Heights. To date, U.S Congress has not voted to pass the DREAM Act of 2017 (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) which would prevent youth and LGBT undocumented young people from being deported to countries where their lives may be endangered due to homophobia and transphobia.

“Deportation is comparable to a death sentence for LGBTQ people in many parts of the world,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center Director of Policy and Community Building Dave Garcia. “Same-sex relationships are criminalized in nearly 80 countries worldwide. Rescinding DACA would put thousands of these young people at risk by forcing them to return to countries where human rights for LGBTQ people are nonexistent.”

According to the Williams Institute at the University of California – Los Angeles, there are more than 75,000 young people who identify as LGBT—with nearly half of them actively participating in the upended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. While a large percentage of LGBT DREAMers (28%) live in California, the DREAM Act of 2017 must be passed to also protect LGBT youth living throughout the country.

“DREAMers are a vital part of the civil rights movement in this country,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “Over a quarter of LGBTQ DREAMers live in California, and many lead the fight for immigrant and LGBTQ rights, even in the face of constant uncertainty as Congress debates immigration reform. DREAMers have built their lives in America, and they deserve to live without the fear of suddenly being torn from their families.”

To lend their support for undocumented young people, more than 80 LGBT centers (members of CenterLink, the community of LGBT centers) and nearly two dozen LGBT statewide equality organization nationwide signed onto a letter urging Congress to act swiftly with the passage of the DREAM Act.

“Brought to our country as children, many of these individuals do not even remember the country they came from and consider America to be their only home,” the letter states. “Congress must pass the DREAM Act to protect 800,000 immigrant youth—including LGBT youth—from deportation. This is a moral imperative.”

“This nation was built on diversity, DREAMs, aspirations, ambition. Immigrants then and now, including members of the LGBTQ community, are the engine driving our nation’s progress and represent a real treasure at the end of a rainbow,” stated Melody Klingenfus, CHIRLA immigrant youth statewide organizer. “When President Trump broke the government’s promise to nearly one million young immigrants that they would be protected from deportation, he also made it his and the GOP’s responsibility to fill the void with a permanent, clean solution such as the DREAM Act. Congress must pass the DREAM Act now and, together, we will remind them of their duty and responsibility to do so.”

“In this critical moment in time, it is essential for LGBTQ leaders and community members to come out in support and organize for the passage of the federal DREAM Act,” said UCLA Dream Resource Center Interim Director Diego Sepulveda. “Undocumented youth have led national campaigns to fight the detention and deportation of our immigrant communities, and without a permanent solution, they will live under the constant fear of being separated from their families, friends, and colleagues. We must stand together to do what is right and just. We must pass the DREAM Act.”

 

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About Los Angeles LGBT Center
Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center's more than 600 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people can be healthy, equal and complete members of society. Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org.

About Equality California
Equality California (EQCA) is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. Learn more at eqca.org

About CHIRLA
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) was founded in 1986. CHIRLA’s mission is to achieve a just society fully inclusive of immigrants. CHIRLA organizes and serves individuals, institutions and coalitions to build power, transform public opinion, and change policies to achieve full human, civil and labor rights. Learn more at chirla.org

 

 

About Latino Equality Alliance
The Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) was established by grassroots leaders in response to Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that took away marriage rights from same-sex couples. Its mission is to promote liberty, equality and justice for the Latino LGBTQ community. Priority issues are family acceptance, marriage and immigration parity. Public education programs include on campus anti-bullying workshops. Learn more at latinoequalityalliance.org/

About UCLA DREAM Resource Center
Since its founding, the DREAM Resource Center has emerged as a national source for innovative research, education, leadership development and policy on immigration issues. Our work is critical to ensure immigrant youth continue to be at the forefront of the national conversations that directly impact their lives and families. We believe that young people deserve the right to learn, be healthy, and pursue their DREAMs – regardless of immigration status. Learn more at https://www.labor.ucla.edu/what-we-do/DREAM-resource-center/

About CenterLink
CenterLink was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers.  The organization plays an important role in supporting the growth of LGBT centers and addressing the challenges they face, by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity and increase access to public resources. Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, CenterLink works with other national organizations to advance the rights of LGBT individuals and to provide LGBT community centers with information and analysis of key issues. lgbtcenters.org/

About LGBT Center OC
The LGBT Center OC’s mission is to advocate on behalf of the Orange County Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer/Questioning communities and provide services that ensure its well-being and positive identity. At the LGBT Center OC, all members and allies of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community of Orange County join together in a network of support and unity. Our life-affirming programs focus on empowerment, and our advocacy efforts focus on speaking out against hate and discrimination. We exist so that every segment of the LGBT population of Orange County has the resources needed to thrive in their own lives and communities. The LGBT Center OC provides services to more than 10,000 individuals annually across a broad spectrum of culture, ethnicity, age, and economic background. Programming is especially designed for gay men, lesbians, youth, the transgender community, the Spanish-speaking LGBT community, the bisexual community, and LGBT families. lgbtcenteroc.org

About the Los Angeles LGBT Center

Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center's more than 600 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people can be healthy, equal and complete members of society. Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org.

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