LGBT caravan part of those seeking asylum in the US
While the Trump administration has been warning about a migrant caravan appearing at the US-Mexico border, there is an LGBT caravan traveling with them.
LGBT advocacy groups said that even as the migrant caravan faces violence and discrimination on their journey, the LGBT people included in the caravan are threatened even more.
LGBT caravan facing discrimination
According to latest reports, the LGBT members of the caravan of Central American migrants that were heading to the US border have recently reached the California border ahead of the rest.
A local community group in Tijuana, Vecinos de Playas de Tijuana, AC (or Neighbors of Playas de Tijuana, AC) said in a Facebook statement: “Very surprised because we did not know about the arrival of this caravan.”
According to this migrant group’s appointed leader, César Mejía, they will be staying in Tijuana for a week. He also said the group were getting support from US lawyers in their US asylum bid.
This group claimed in interviews with NBC San Diego that they left the main group due to discrimination and verbal abuse from other migrants.
Mejia told NBC San Diego: “Even to bathe was a big problem, and when we wanted to shower there was no water…same with food.”
Their next stop supposedly will be the San Ysidro US port of entry at the Tijuana-San Diego border.
Migrants fleeing from violence
The caravan is mostly composed of people from Honduras, as well as some from El Salvador and Guatemala. The migrants are fleeing from the high rate of violence in these countries.
The nonprofit organization Neta, in partnership with caravan organizer Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), said the caravan also represents a diversity of sexual and gender identities.
Organizers said the purpose of the caravan is to provide protection, i.e. by traveling in large numbers, the migrants won’t be vulnerable to abuse like extortion, rape, and kidnappings by gangs and drug cartels.
In response to the caravan’s approach, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning asylum seekers going through Mexico from entering three days after the midterm elections.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) have filed a lawsuit against the executive order in a federal court in San Francisco.
“President Trump’s new asylum ban is illegal,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
“This action undermines the rule of law and is a great moral failure because it tries to take away protections from individuals facing persecution– it’s the opposite of what America should stand for,” Jadwat said.
LGBT caravan facing travel ban
LGBT advocacy groups in the US have also criticized President Trump’s response to the approaching caravan and his executive order.
National Center for Lesbian Rights Policy Counsel Tyrone Hanley called the policy “not only cruel, but will be a death sentence for many in our community.”
“President Trump’s plan would not only unlawfully limit asylum but would rewrite the character of our nation,” Hanley said.
Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi in a statement that Trump’s efforts “severely limits the opportunity for people, no matter their circumstances, to apply for asylum.”
Hayashi added this means “that LGBT people and other communities who fear persecution and violence– groups that our own courts have already identified as eligible for asylum– will no longer have the opportunity to apply solely based on where and how they enter.”
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign warned in a tweet that “the humanitarian consequences will be severe” if the Trump administration continues its “cruelty towards individuals seeking refuge through legal channels.””