No more fear, no more hiding--the gift immigrants would love this holiday season

Are you spending the holidays with your family? Felipe isn’t.

Felipe, a gay man from Brazil, came to the U.S. to live with his older sister because his mom was sick and could no longer take care of him. Unable to move here legally, Felipe’s mom has missed countless Christmases, birthdays and even Felipe’s wedding. While Felipe is awaiting his green card, his sister is still undocumented. Felipe fears that he will soon be forced to live without her, just like he lives without his mother.

The holidays are a time of year when families are reunited and we get a chance to appreciate all the blessings we have. However, millions of families across the country will be faced with at least one empty seat at the table this year. Every day, 1,100 families are torn apart due to our country’s broken immigration.

You can help by spreading the word and sending an e-card that tells the story of families torn apart, people being brutalized and children living in fear because of this antiquated system.

As a nation, we pride ourselves on keeping families united, and our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keep families together – all families. The LGBT community is standing side-by-side with our allies in the immigrant rights community to pass comprehensive reform because immigration is an LGBT issue.

There are 11 million women, men and children – including an estimated 267,000 LGBT immigrants – whose lives hang in the balance while Congress sits on their hands. LGBT immigrants face unique challenges. Many of them come to America because they face serious violence or persecution in their home countries due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Once here, however, they have difficulties navigating the asylum-filing process and are vulnerable to discrimination, abuse and injustice in detention centers.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of LGBT immigrants in the U.S. who face unspeakable hardships. People like Krypcia, a transgender woman who came to the U.S. because she knew she could not transition safely in her native country of El Salvador. After establishing a life here, Krypcia was detained for falling out of legal immigration status. Although no criminal charges were brought against her, she spent nearly eight grueling months in solitary confinement because officials didn’t want to house her with other male or female detainees. Now, Krypcia is thankful to be her true self in a country she calls home, but there are still millions of people who desperately need immigration reform.

It’s time for Congress to put the political pettiness aside and allow a vote to help fix this broken system for good. Families should no longer have to spend the holidays missing their loved ones or scared they will be torn apart. Help us share Felipe’s and Krypcia’s stories and the stories of other LGBT immigrants whose lives have been torn apart because of our nation’s failed immigration policies. Send an e-card and sign the pledge to demand Congress act now to pass immigration reform that keeps families together.

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