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4 Ways the U.S. Government Can Strengthen Refugee Resettlement for LGBTQI People

4 Ways the U.S. Government Can Strengthen Refugee Resettlement for LGBTQI People

The Trump administration endangered LGBTQI lives globally. It undermined the refugee resettlement program and asylum protections for LGBTQI people fleeing persecution, while also signaling to leaders around the world that if they undermined LGBTQI rights and persecuted this population, they would not face consequences from the U.S. government.

Fortunately, President Joe Biden has signaled a strong desire to change course. After only a few months in office, he has taken significant actions to strengthen the refugee resettlement program and advance the rights of LGBTQI people in all federal programs.

Biden’s Executive Order on Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration directs his administration to “seek opportunities to enhance access to the refugee program” for populations that are particularly vulnerable to persecution. In addition, the order explicitly references individuals at risk related to their “gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.” It also directs the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to consider recognizing as “spouses” those who are in committed life partnerships but unable to marry due to restrictions on marriage in their countries of origin—guidance that builds on the Obama administration’s steps toward increased inclusivity in refugee resettlement for same-sex couples.

The same day this executive order was released, President Biden also issued a Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World.

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