Today, thousands of LGBTQ+ immigrants live in fear of being returned to the countries where they have suffered homophobic violence and persecution. As low-income people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community, the lack of safety and security they face is further compounded by the impact of the current administration’s anti-immigrant policies and the economic devastation and health dangers of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a leading service provider to the LGBTQ+ immigrant community, Oasis Legal Services provides a crucial lifeline for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers so that they are protected, celebrated, and can come out of the shadows. For LGBTQ+ immigrants, winning asylum means protection from deportation, the right to work legally, the opportunity to advance a career, pursue an education, seek medical care, and in hard times, the right to crucial social safety nets. Asylum means the freedom to finally embrace their true sexual orientation or gender identity, and to find community and acceptance without the fear of persecution.
We represent hundreds of asylum seekers every year, and because of our expertise and advocacy, we win asylum for 99% of our clients.
Maria (pictured above) describes what Oasis’s representation meant for her and her children:
For years, Maria was terrified that her children, Sebastian and Angela,* would learn that she is lesbian. While Maria had the strength to survive ostracization and rejection in her home country of Nicaragua, she knew that her kids' rejection would cause emotional damage from which she would never recover.
Oasis offered Maria acceptance, encouragement and pride. After meeting with her Oasis team and applying for asylum, Maria was finally able to embrace her true identity. She obtained a work permit. She dropped her kids off at school and didn't worry all day that if she got caught up in an ICE raid, no one would be there to pick her kids up from school.
Maria came out to Sebastian and Angela in 2019 and they have embraced who she really is. In order to celebrate their mother, they attended San Francisco Pride with her in 2019 (pictured below).
“Thank you very much for everything the Oasis team has done for me. . . Thanks to you and my work permit, my life has changed completely. . . I am happy being who I am, complete with my children. I am very happy knowing that they are happy, too.”
*names changed to protect their identities
Asylum seekers like Maria need your support now more than ever. Join our Oasis community as we stand together to ensure that LGBTQ+ immigrants are protected.