By Krista Gesaman | Newsweek Web ExclusiveNov 30, 2009....Last year, the United States received about 49,000 applications for asylum due to a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, more than any other nation. Of those, 22,930 individuals were officially granted asylum, according to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. In 1994 the "members of a particular social group" clause was expanded to include foreign citizens who feared persecution based on their sexual orientation. (In order to apply for asylum, one must already be present in the United States, either legally or illegally.)It's impossible to know exactly how many individuals have sought and gained asylum based specifically on sexual orientation because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn't separate its figures by category. When contacted by NEWSWEEK, a media-relations manager at the agency said that the bureau doesn't have the right computer software to break down the reasons why people are seeking asylum. Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of people applying for asylum based on sexual orientation may be increasing."When sexual orientation became an option in 1994, the Internet was in its infancy, and it was difficult for people to find out they could seek safe haven in the U.S.," says Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. "Now we are seeing a steady increase." Last week the nonprofit won its 60th case of the year, and it has several others still pending. Immigration Equality won 55 cases in 2008 and 30 cases in 2007.....
Monday, November 30, 2009
Posted by De Sube at 11/30/2009 07:03:00 PM