UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth, LGBTQ immigrants & advance efforts for the entire undocumented immigrant community to know their rights and build protection networks to fight back mass deportation & mistreatment by law enforcement, hate crimes, and bullying that has increased under the new social climate in our country.
Undocumented LGBTQ immigrants face increased marginalization and discrimination in and out of the detention system, the workforce, and health services, to name a few. Through UWD’s work, we have documented cases of undocumented LGBTQ immigrants who were mistreated by law enforcement and are disproportionately placed in solitary confinement. Leading our organizing and advocacy efforts from an intersectional lens, UWD has advanced efforts to expand rights of LGBTQ+ immigrants and build the leadership of UndocuQueer immigrant youth.
Findings of the survey noted that LGBTQ immigrants face high levels of legal discrimination in health care, housing and employment. Since it is legal in most of the country to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender preference, there is no legal pathway for those fired to pursue compensation. Furthermore, the survey emphasized the fact that LGBTQ immigrants face double marginalization and discrimination –for their sexual and gender identification, and for the immigration status.
Since 2011 when UWD’s Queer Undocumented Immigrant Rights Project (QUIP) was born, UWD has led LGBTQ immigrants rights as an integral part of the immigration debate, uplifting the stories of LGBTQ immigrants in the media, with particular focus in the Spanish media so as to improve the attitudes of Latinos towards LGBTQ issues. As part of our efforts, we engaged in a survey led by and for LGBTQ immigrants, where UWD undocumented LGBTQ leaders across the country launched the first survey of its kind asking about LGBTQ immigrants in the U.S what their top policy priorities are and which are the issues they face. Community-driven research as such has identified issues faced by LGBTQ immigrants to inform our advocacy and organizing efforts. As an example, in 2016 UWD engaged both LGBTQ and immigrant rights organizations in the #BreakTheCage campaign which called for an an end to the detention of LGBTQ immigrants.
Learn more about #BreakTheCage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFROkTVb03E
Under the new administration millions of immigrants are at increased risk of mass deportation, further criminalization, racial profiling & family separation. The high level of fear & uncertainty is palpable & valid by the executive actions we’ve already seen. We are looking ahead to an era where our immigrant, LGBTQ & communities of color are under constant siege by the government & vigilantes, & where being an immigrant might itself may be an act of civil disobedience. The funds raised through Give Out Day will go towards UWD’s efforts towards building spaces to strengthen and heal our immigrant communities, including the estimated almost 300,000 undocumented LGBTQ immigrants, expanding our deportation defense infrastructure & experience to implement robust community based & national protection networks that defend immigrants, refugees & LGBTQ members from deportation & hateful attacks such as the brutality that the trans and queer people faced in immigrant detention centers and encounters with law enforcement. We aim to ensure that our undocumented immigrant community is not only protected but thriving in the United States, their home.