On July 28, Resource Center organized a meeting between members of the LGBT community and the Dallas field office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Among those involved were Nell Gaither from Trans Pride Initiative and Juan Contreras and other members of Rainbow LULAC as well as Resource Center Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell.
Gaither called the meeting a good first step. She said one goal is to let people in custody with ICE know there are resources if they are victims of violence. She said a goal is to let more people know that if they are unsafe in their home country because of their sexual orientation or gender identity may be a reason to claim asylum or withholding of removal.
Last month, the federal government announced new policies on how the agency will treat LGBT detainees. ICE will also collect data on how many people flee their home countries because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Resource Center has a long history of working together with partner organizations and governmental agencies, and the meeting was the first step towards establishing an ongoing dialogue on LGBT issues at the local level with ICE.