Members of the LGBTQI community living in countries where they are harassed because of their gender and sexual identity can come to the United States and file for asylum. The United States invites those that are being persecuted due to a characteristic that they cannot change.
Many foreign governments have a history of having their military and police forces target gays and lesbians. Many countries do not protect members of this community from harassment. The Republic of Haiti is currently changing its laws so make clear that the gay and lesbian community is not welcome in the small island.
The Senate in Haiti recently passed a bill that would ban same-sex marriage in Haiti. It also bans public rallies that demonstrate support of homosexuality. The bill would ensure that Haiti’s law would keep limiting the definition of marriage between and man and woman. The ban would also allow Haitian courts to sentence the parties, co-parties, and accomplices of same-sex up to three years in jail and be fine them up to the equivalent of $8,000.
The Haitian press quoted a number of Haitian politicians in support of this bill. This is yet another example of the Haitian government’s failure to protect gay and lesbian Haitian citizens. This bill was introduced after the Haitian government refused to issue Certificate of Good Life or Morals. This certificate is needed, for example, to work as a teacher in certain schools.
Some in Haiti argue that the same-sex marriage ban is a reflection of the country’s morals and religious standards. Others, like Haiti's small homosexual activist contingent quickly condemned the bill, with Charlot Jeudy of the pro-homosexual group Kouraj saying, “We see this as an attack on the LGBT community in this country. This text divides our society and reinforces prejudices and discrimination. It’s really a shame.”
The bill has not yet passed. It is now up to Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies as to whether the bill will be sent to the President’s desk for signature. Haiti has a history of not protecting its gay and lesbian citizens from violence. This has pushed some people to apply for asylum. While the most commonly known type of asylum is politically based, there are a variety of types, including asylum applications based on sexual preference.
People come to the United States to file for protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinion. Being persecuted in a foreign country for being homosexual means that you can qualify for asylum for being persecuted for being part of a particular social group. Many foreigners apply for asylum based on sexual preference and win, including foreigners from Albania, Argentina, Guyana, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lebanon, Morocco, and Uganda.
To apply for asylum, one needs to have filed Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of coming to the United States. There is no fee for applying for asylum. If the asylum application is granted, the applicant may apply for Lawful Permanent Resident. The applicant’s family, including their spouse and child will be eligible to remain in the United States and also adjust status to Lawful Permanent Resident status.
Applying for asylum is risky. If it is denied, you will be referred to an immigration court where an immigration judge may enter an order of deportation. If this happens, it is very hard to retain the former immigration status. It is very important to speak with an immigration attorney before filing an application.