ICYMI: WaPo Ed Board: Trump is sending LGBTQ migrants ‘back to hell’
July 25, 2018
By the Washington Post Editorial Board
In the 1990s, the United States was among the first countries to start granting sanctuary to LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers fleeing persecution stemming from their sexual orientation or gender identity in their home countries. Now the Trump administration, intent on turning back the clock on almost every major facet of immigration policy, is increasingly complicit in their mistreatment.
As administration officials have intensified their efforts to hollow out the asylum system — narrowing eligibility criteria, creating bottlenecks for would-be asylum seekers at legal ports of entry and tearing apart families as a means of deterring future applicants — LGBTQ individuals have suffered inordinately. That is particularly true in the case of those from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Central America where sexual and gender-based violence is pervasive.
There are no statistics to indicate that LGBTQ asylum seekers are refused admittance to the United States more (or less) frequently than other applicants, though the rate at which migrants of all sorts are granted asylum seems to be plummeting because of the administration’s policies. However, sending LGBTQ migrants back across the southwestern border to Mexico subjects them to heightened risks: According to the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, two-thirds of such individuals reported that they had suffered sexual or gender-based violence in Mexico after entering that country.
In the case of those deported to their countries of origin in the Northern Triangle, their fates are often even worse. A report last year from the rights group Amnesty International said LGBTQ deportees were effectively “sent back to hell,” based on the horrific conditions from which they fled in the first place. The UNHCR reported that 88 percent of LGBTQ asylum seekers had been victims of sexual and gender-based violence in their countries of origin.