Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Organizations “Come Out” Against ICE’s “Se Communities” Deportation Program
October 11, 2011. SAN FRANCISCO, CA. Dozens of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organizations across the country are adding their voices to the growing national movement to end ICE’s controversial fingerprint-sharing “Se Communities” (S-Comm) program. By forcing local law enforcement to share fingerprint data for every person arrested – no matter how valid or minor the charge – with federal immigration authorities, S-Comm has contributed to skyrocketing numbers of detentions and deportations.
Prompted by ICE’s unilateral move to make the highly debated program mandatory, national, regional, and local LGBTQ organizations—including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) — felt compelled to mark National Coming Out Day by adding their voices to the national upsurge of opposition to S-Comm today.
“NCAVP is concerned by the impact of police/ICE collaboration on LGBTQ survivors of violence. It is not uncommon for LGBTQ survivors of violence to be arrested when they call police for help. NCAVP member programs know that many LGBTQ survivors do not access police for safety when they experience violence, and the Se Communities program may increase fear, barriers to safety, and risk of detention and deportation for LGBTQ immigrant communities,” said Chai Jindasurat, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “In honor of this year’s National Coming Out Day, NCAVP calls for an end to a program that has severe consequences for LGBTQ people.”
In a statement released on National Coming Out Day, over sixty LGBTQ groups call on President Obama to take immediate action to eliminate this destructive program. California Assemblymember and longtime LGBTQ rights activist Tom Ammiano echoed this call: “Every day LGBTQ Californians are being unfairly deported leading to tragic consequences for communities both here and across the country. I am urging the Obama Administration to end the deception around S-Comm and suspend this damaging program.”
“The LGBTQ movement has often been an example of how to hold your head high with pride in the face of discrimination. As migrants, we’re inspired by National Coming Out Day and strengthened by this show of solidarity,” said Sarahi Uribe, Organizer of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
“We hear regular reports of LGBTQ people who find themselves in deportation proceedings after being profiled by their race, class, sexuality, and gender as they go about their daily lives or even as they navigate domestic violence,” said Morgan Bassichis of the San Francisco-based Community United Against Violence (CUAV), the country’s oldest LGBTQ anti-violence organization. “Rather than making anyone more ‘se’, S-Comm endangers all communities by tearing at the fabric of family and support networks and creating a culture of fear.”
The statement marks a historic confluence of movements for LGBTQ rights and migrant rights, and increased attention to migrant issues within LGBTQ communities. “On this National Coming Out Day, we recognize that LGBT immigrants need more than acceptance from family, schools, and neighbors to be “out”: they need to be free from profiling, detention, and deportation,” said Mónica Enriquez-Enriquez of Streetwise and Safe, an organization working with LGBTQ youth of color in New York City and signatory to the statement.
For background information on the Se Communities program, read “Restoring Community” at http://altopolimigra.com/s-comm-shadow-report/
Founded in 1979, Community United Against Violence (CUAV) works to build the power of LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) communities to transform violence and oppression. We support the and leadership of those impacted by abuse and mobilize our broader communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation. As part of the larger social justice movement, CUAV works to create truly safe communities where everyone can thrive.
National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) works to unify and strengthens is member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize, and organize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights.
Streetwise and Safe (SAS) is a New York City-based organization working to create opportunities for LGBTQQ youth of color who experience homelessness, policing, and criminalization to claim a seat at policy discussion tables as full participants, speak out on their own behalf, act collectively to protect and advance their rights, and demand choices that allow them to maximize their safety, self-sufficiency, and self-determination.