DACA decision could have ramifications for LGBTQ community

"They really could be facing a death sentence if they were sent home," a reverend said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday plans to phase out the DACA program - which has provided legal protection to approximately 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. 

"I have a love for these people, and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly. And I can tell you, speaking to members of Congress, they want to be able to do something and do it right," explained President Trump. 

"To have a lawful system of immigration that served the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It's just that simple," said Attorney General Sessions. 

The decision has drawn mixed reactions and has sparked fear from many DREAMERS in the LGBTQ community. 

"The rights that they have here, they're not necessarily going to have in their own country, and in fact they can be put at risk in their own country. Then you add to that - if they have a partner here, they can be ripped apart from their partner," said Rev. Chris Jimmerson at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin. 

The Church recently provided sanctuary to Sulma Franco, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who feared returning to her homeland over her sexual orientation. 

"They really could be facing a death sentence if they were sent home," said Jimmerson. 

A report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated nearly 600 people throughout Latin America within the LGBTQ community were killed from January 2013 through March 2014 due to their sexuality.

First Unitarian Universalist is a part of the Austin Sanctuary Network, a coalition of religious groups providing a safe haven to undocumented immigrants. 

But the extent of their assistance is limited due to a lack of space. 

"It's a capacity issue, and the more churches that are involved, the more people we can help," said Jimmerson, who is calling on other churches to step up and be prepared to take people in. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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