This App Extends a Lifeline to LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
This app extends a lifeline to LGBTQ asylum seekers
Started as a U.S. resource, AsylumConnect has added resources in Mexico and a full-scale launch in Canada is planned for April.
NEW YORK, NY (March 20, 2019) — Launched in 2016, tech nonprofit AsylumConnect’s innovative resource app has helped more than 10,000 unique users find verified LGBTQ-and asylum-friendly resources in the U.S. AsylumConnect is the first to offer a resource website and app designed specifically for LGBTQ asylum. The organization has also recently used their technology to make resources available to LGBTQ asylum seekers traveling through Mexico and waiting at the Mexican border in the wake of President Trump’s “Migrant Protection Protocols.” In April, the organization is launching in Canada.
LGBTQ asylum seekers use AsylumConnect to answer lifesaving questions such as: “Where can I find free legal help for filing my LGBTQ asylum application?”; “Where is it safe for LGBTQ immigrants to go for shelter?”; “Where can I get my next meal if I do not have documentation?”; “Where can I find LGBTQ-affirmative mental health counseling?”; “Where can I find a LGBTQ-friendly doctor without medical insurance?”; and much more.
Nonprofits and lawyers - including immigration attorneys as well as corporate attorneys and law students working on pro bono asylum cases - also use AsylumConnect to gather verified resource referrals for LGBTQ clients.
AsylumConnect’s technology is scalable, open source and designed to address the unique needs of LGBTQ asylum seekers. The catalog is viewable in more than 100 languages through Google Translate. Further, the catalog offers an anonymous user experience to protect LGBTQ asylum seekers' confidentiality and privacy. For example, users who choose to register for a free asylum seeker user account can input an alias to preserve their confidentiality.
The app also allows a user to easily filter out resources that require specific types of documentation such as medical insurance, proof of age, proof of income, proof of residence, or a referral to access. Many LGBTQ asylum seekers do not have specific documents, which limits the scope of services they are able to access during the asylum process.
“AsylumConnect is tailor-made for the unique needs of LGBTQ asylum seekers and built to be shaped by the local community,” says Katie Sgarro, co-founder and president of AsylumConnect. “Our open source technology encourages local communities, such as local nonprofit service providers, lawyers, and LGBTQ community members, to help us build out the most accurate, comprehensive resource catalog for their specific geographic area. This is lifesaving technology addressing a significant need as persecuted LGBTQ people are traveling to the U.S. in record numbers in hopes of obtaining asylum.”
AsylumConnect works closely with Y Combinator-backed tech nonprofit One Degree, which provides AsylumConnect with full access to its Resource Server API. This houses all public resource information content as well as its application server API, which provides access to all features requiring a user account such as resource bookmarks, referrals, and editing. The AsylumConnect volunteer data management team uses One Degree's data portal to store its data, enter new resources, and edit existing catalog resources.
The AsylumConnect catalog web application uses responsive CSS and modern web frameworks (React.js, Node.js). The AsylumConnect team is responsible for the UX/UI experience and front-end development of the AsylumConnect resource catalog. More visuals on the technology can be found in AsylumConnect’s annual report.
For more information about AsylumConnect and insight into this lifesaving technology, visit www.asylumconnect.org.
AsylumConnect, a tech nonprofit, is the first resource website and app designed for LGBTQ asylum. The AsylumConnect catalog currently helps LGBTQ asylum seekers find verified resources during the U.S. asylum process. Lawyers and nonprofits also use AsylumConnect to find verified resource referrals for LGBTQ clients. For more information, visit www.asylumconnect.org.
Katie Sgarro, Co-Founder & President