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Immigration equality

Immigration equality is a citizens' equal ability or right to immigrate their family members. It also applies to fair and equal execution of the laws and the rights of non-citizens regardless of nationality or where they are coming from. Immigration issues can also be a LGBT rights issue, as government recognition of same-sex relationships vary from country to country.

Immigration and migrant rights issue

In 1999, President Bill Clinton sent a bill to Congress that would have equalized immigration rights for people from Central America and Haiti. Clinton said the bill would correct the imbalance in immigration laws that gave advantage to people who fled communist regimes such as Cuba and Nicaragua. Like Nicaraguans and Cubans, many Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Haitians fled human rights abuses or unstable political economic conditions in the 1980s and 1990s, but the latter received unequal treatment that granted to the Nicaraguans and Cubans. The "Central American and Haitian Parity Act of 1999" never passed, but would have offered immigration equality protections to migrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.[1]

Haitians particularly sought immigration equality in the Elián González affair in 2000 when they organized demonstrations in Miami during an international tug of war between Cuba and the US. They protested what they said was discrimination against Haitian immigrants by the INS and the behavior of elected officials who lobbied for Elián González to stay in the US, yet ignored the plight of Haitian refugees and the repatriation of Haitian children.[2]

In 2004, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, expressed concern about the plight of the Haitian people as the country was sliding further into chaos. Cuba, Jamaica and Canada said they will not send people back to Haiti, but President George W. Bush warned Haitians they will be sent home if they try to flee to the US. In a matter of a few days, the US Coast Guard intercepted some 500 people in boats fleeing Haiti and sent them back. The US was not sending back Cubans fleeing similar situations and regimes, and many argue that immigration equality rights between the two nationalities should apply.[3]

In 2006, protests continued for immigration equality rights for the Haitians as Lawyers protest Deportation of Illegal Immigrants to Haiti.[4]

LGBT immigration issues

United States

Until 2013, LGBT Americans were not afforded the same rights and responsibilities under current immigration law as their heterosexual counterparts. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) had forbidden the federal government from conferring any benefits upon same-sex couples. Under DOMA, persons in same-sex marriages were not considered married for immigration purposes. U.S. citizens and permanent residents in same-sex marriages could not petition for their spouses, nor could they be accompanied by their spouses into the U.S. on the basis of a family or employment-based visa. A non-citizen in such a marriage would not have been able to use it as the basis for obtaining a waiver or relief from removal from the U.S.[5] On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.[6] Following this decision, the administration of President Barack Obama began recognizing same-sex couples for immigration purposes.[7]

Legislation to establish immigration equality, the Uniting American Families Act, has been introduced in the US Congress since 2000.[8]

Since 2003, fear of persecution has been increasingly accepted as grounds for granting asylum to LGBT persons.[9] The Board of Immigration Appeals denied an application for asylum on the part of a gay Indonesian man. It doubted his fear of persecution if he returned to Indonesia in part because "closeted homosexuality is tolerated in Indonesia". The case, Kadri v. Mukasey, is on appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.[10]


LGBT immigration equality by country or territory
  Recognition of same-sex couples in national immigration laws

At present a number of countries recognise same-sex relationships for immigration purposes. This may occur through the recognition of same-sex marriage, through some other form of registered relationship, or through specific provisions made in immigration law. These countries are:

  • Argentina (2010)
  • Australia (1995)[11]
  • Austria (2010)[12][13]
  • Belgium (1997)[11]
  • Brazil (2003)[11]
  • Canada (2005)[11]
  • Chile (2015) [14]
  • Denmark (1989) [including Greenland (1996)][11]
  • Finland (2001)[11]
  • France (1999)[11]
  • Germany (2001)[11]
  • Iceland (1996)[11]
  • Ireland (2011)[15]
  • Israel (2000)[11]
  • Hong Kong (2018)[16]
  • Luxembourg (2004)[citation needed]
  • Mexico (2010)[citation needed]
  • Namibia (1998)[17]
  • Netherlands (2001)[11]
  • New Zealand (1999)[11]
  • Norway (1993)[11]
  • Portugal (2001)[11]
  • Romania (2006)[18]
  • San Marino (2012)[19][20]
  • Slovakia [21]
  • South Africa (1999)[11]
  • Spain (2005)[11]
  • Sweden (1994)[11]
  • Switzerland (2003)[11]
  • United Kingdom (1997) [including Jersey (2012), Isle of Man (2011), Gibraltar (2014) and Bermuda (2015)][11]
  • United States (2013)
  • Uruguay (2013)

LGBT immigration organizations

There are organizations in various countries that deal with LGBT/HIV+ immigration issues and represent LGBT/HIV+ people in legal immigration applications.

  •  Netherlands
    • Love Exiles
  •  United States
    • Immigration Equality, an organization advocating for equality under United States immigration law for LGBT and HIV+ individuals, founded in 1994 as the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force.[22] Immigration Equality also maintains a list of LGBT/HIV-friendly private immigration attorneys, and provides technical assistance to attorneys working on sexual orientation, transgender identity, or HIV status-based asylum applications, or other immigration applications where the client's LGBT or HIV-positive identity is at issue in the case.[23]
    • Out4Immigration is a volunteer grassroots organization in the United States that supports LGBT and HIV+ people whose lives have been impacted by discriminatory US immigration laws, through education, outreach, advocacy and maintaining a resource and support network. They work with the National Center for Lesbian Rights' Immigration Project to provide a monthly free clinic where participants can consult an immigration attorney to discuss their cases.
    • National Center For Lesbian Rights, founded in 1977, is a non-profit, public interest law firm in the United States that works to advance the civil and human rights of LGBT people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

See also


  1. ^ The Library of Congress, Thomas. S. 1592 Central American And Haitian Parity Act of 1999. To amend the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act to provide to certain nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti an opportunity to apply for adjustment of status under that Act, and for other purposes.[1] Senate Bill []:
  2. ^ Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report. "Haitians Seek Immigration Equality" Audio and Transcript available. Interviewer Amy GoodmanJanuary 14, 2000 []. [2] Interview
  3. ^ UN Fears For Haiti Refugee Plight The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has expressed concern about the plight of the Haitian people as the country slides further into chaos. UN fears for Haiti refugee plight BBC News Article February 28, 2004
  4. ^ Swarns, Rachel L (January 20, 2006). "Lawyers Protest Deportation of Illegal Immigrants to Haiti". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  5. ^ "Immigration and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): A Q&A Fact Check". Immigration Policy Center. August 18, 2011. Archived from the original on September 20, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  6. ^ Supreme Court of the United States (June 26, 2013). "United States v. Windsor" (PDF).
  7. ^ Same-Sex Marriage and Spousal Visas, []
  8. ^ Representative Jerrold Nadler; Congressman Nadler and Senator Leahy Fight for LGBT Immigration Equality - Uniting American Families Act Would Allow Americans to Sponsor "Permanent Partners." May 8, 2007 Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved August 16, 2012
  9. ^ Immigration Equality: Asylum Decisions Archived 2012-08-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 16, 2012
  10. ^ First Circuit Court of Appeals: Kadri v. Mukasey, September 30, 2008[permanent dead link]. Retrieved August 6, 2012
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Human Rights Watch; Immigration Equality (2006). "Appendix B: Countries Protecting Same-Sex Couples' Immigration Rights". Family, Unvalued: Discrimination, Denial, and the Fate of Binational Same-Sex Couples under U.S. Law. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1-56432-336-6. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  12. ^ Migration Law ( Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  13. ^ Registered Partnership Act. 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  14. ^ "Acuerdo de Unión Civil: Los nuevos beneficios para convivientes - Gobierno de Chile". Gobierno de Chile. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service Civil Partnership". Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Immigration policy on entry of dependants revised". GovHK. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  17. ^ GayLawNet: Asylum, Immigration, Refugees
  18. ^ Legal recognition of homosexual orientation in the countries of the world A chronological overview with footnotes (pages 26, 70)
  19. ^ [3]
  20. ^ [4]
  21. ^ Legal recognition of homosexual orientation in the countries of the world A chronological overview with footnotes (pages 26, 70)
  22. ^ "Home Page - Immigration Equality". Immigration Equality. Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-04-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links