How To Seek LGBTQ Asylum
Read our translated legal guides below to learn more about how to apply for LGBTQ asylum in the United States. Our U.S. legal guides include information on: your legal rights as an asylum seeker, the documents you will need to file your LGBTQ asylum application, how to prepare for your credible fear screening or interview, and updates on how changes to federal U.S. immigration policy affect LGBTQ asylum seekers.
Are you seeking LGBTQ asylum in Canada?: Scroll down the page to learn more about how to file a LGBTQ refugee protection claim in Canada.
Seek LGBTQ Asylum in the U.S.
EXPEDITED REMOVAL PROCESS
NOTE ON EXPANSION OF EXPEDITED REMOVAL DEPORTATIONS
Recently, the Trump administration expanded the expedited removal process of deportation without a court hearing to apply to non-citizens encountered by immigration officers anywhere in the U.S. who do not demonstrate to the satisfaction of the officers that: 1) they are legally authorized to be in the U.S., 2) have not committed fraud or misrepresentation, or 3) they have been physically present in the U.S. for two years prior to being apprehended by the officer.
This means that anyone believed to be subject to expedited removal will have the burden of proving to an immigration officer that they have been physically present in the U.S. for at least two years or that they were legally admitted or paroled into the U.S.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is preparing to file a lawsuit challenging this new policy in court.
‘SAFE THIRD COUNTRY’ ASYLUM AGREEMENT WITH GUATEMALA
About the new 'safe third country' asylum agreement between the United States and Guatemala
Under an agreement announced on July 26th, asylum seekers who travel through Guatemala on their way to the United States would be returned to Guatemala and forced to seek protection there.
This would largely block Salvadorans and Hondurans from receiving asylum in the United States, and large numbers of asylum seekers from around the world who travel by land to the U.S. border after flying to South America. Instead, only Mexicans and Guatemalans would be able to seek protection at the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to a copy released by the Guatemalan government, the agreement would not apply to children who arrive at the border alone and would remain in effect for two years.
As of July 26th, the details of the agreement have not been formally released. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said on a press call that he expects the deal to take effect in the next few weeks.
However, Guatemala is raising serious doubt about the legality of this agreement with the U.S. for two reasons: 1) Guatemala's Constitutional Court previously ruled any such agreement first needs to be approved by Guatemala's Congress, which is on its summer recess, and 2) two Guatemalan presidential candidates are calling for an analysis of whether the signatory, Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart, actually had the power to sign the agreement. We will update this page as more information becomes available.
‘THIRD COUNTRY’ ASYLUM RULE
rule barring asylum applications from individuals at the southern border who passed through a third country on their way to the U.s. but did not seek asylum in that country
Latest update: On August 16, 2019, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals limited the scope of the July 24th ruling that blocked asylum restrictions at the southern border to states within the 9th Circuit's jurisdiction. For now, Arizona and California must continue to process asylum requests from foreign nationals who passed through a third country before seeking asylum in the U.S. However, New Mexico and Texas can now enforce Trump's 'third country' rule and deny such individuals the right to apply for asylum. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) plans to challenge this decision.
On July 24th, 2019, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking asylum restrictions at the southern border. The judge’s preliminary injunction halts the policy while the lawsuit plays out in court.
Under a new 'third country' rule, which went into effect on July 16, 2019, individuals entering the U.S. across the southern U.S. land border will now be ineligible for asylum if they passed through another country first and did not attempt to seek asylum there before moving to the U.S. border, regardless of whether they had access to effective international protection in those transit countries.
This rule effectively limits asylum protections to Mexican nationals and nationals of other countries who cross the United States’ border by direct air or sea travel.
The new rule includes the following exceptions: If an individual has been trafficked, has applied for protection in a prior country and was denied, or has passed through a country that is not a signatory to the primary international treaties governing refugees.
Civil rights groups have filed two lawsuits challenging these new asylum restrictions. The lawsuits argue that 1) federal law prohibits the U.S. government from categorically denying asylum to those who briefly transit through a third country in which they were not “firmly resettled” before arriving in the U.S., and 2) this rule improperly changes U.S. immigration law without following the mandatory notice and comment procedural steps of the Administrative Procedures Act.