House needs to pass immigration reform and ENDA to make lives better

Both a new info-graphic and a recent op-ed on NBC Latino lay out why it is so important that the House of Representatives act on both comprehensive immigration reform and workplace protection expansion in order to positively impact the lives of LGBT Latinos, immigrants and non-immigrants alike.

The Center for American Progress info-graphic crystalizes the ways that the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act would transform the lives of the 267,000 LGBT undocumented migrants. It would:

• Create a path to citizenship

• End the solitary confinement and other abuses LGBT migrants have been subjected to in detention

• Eliminate the outdated one-year filing deadline for asylum-seekers that has left one in 5 refugees out

Making the argument for passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is an op-ed by Raul Reyes on the NBC Latino website. Reyes charts the need for ENDA to insure that workers are not discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

• Only 22 states protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and only 18 of those protect against discrimination based on gender identity.

• Florida, Arizona and Texas, states with big Latino populations, are among the 29 states where LGBT people can be fired, passed over for promotions, harassed and not hired in the first place for being LGBT.

It's also important to note that currently, unemployment rates for transgender people (14%) are at twice the national rate, according to a recent report. Undocumented Latino LGBT families have lower incomes than their citizen counterparts according to a recent report.

Since so many of us are in mixed status families and communities, sharing our lives with LGBT and non LGBT, immigrant and non-immigrant family and friends, the passage of these two bills would make all our worlds better. The Senate has passed both bills, it is now time for the House to take action. The more lawmakers wait, the longer our neighbors, family members and communities suffer.

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