Dem Bill Would Make LGBT Illegal Immigrants Immune From Detention

A U.S. border patrol agent talks to immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border (Getty Images)
April 21, 2023

Legislation introduced this week by congressional Democrats would forbid border officials from detaining illegal immigrants who identify as LGBT in almost all circumstances.

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, sponsored by dozens of Democrats including Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), would set a norm that "vulnerable" migrants "may not be detained," Fox News reported. Vulnerable groups, according to the bill, include migrants who identify as "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex," don't speak English, or have experienced "severe trauma."

"This is a measure that will go a long way to restore humanity and dignity to the immigration system." Jayapal said of the legislation. 

The proposal comes as illegal immigration surges on the southern border. Border Patrol agents reported 162,317 migrant encounters in March, an increase of 32,000 migrants from February. Eleven of the migrants had names matching ones on the terror watch list, the Washington Times reported.

Title 42, the policy allowing agents to turn illegal immigrants away due to the pandemic, will expire on May 11. Biden's enforcement of it has come into question, with new reporting showing the administration accepted 99 percent of migrants' requests made through an immigration app for exemptions from the policy. 

Under the Democrats' bill, the Department of Homeland Security could only detain a migrant identified as "vulnerable" if the agency could prove that it is "unreasonable or not practicable to place the alien in a community-based supervision program."

The bill contains a host of other provisions that makes it more difficult to detain migrants of any status, imposing, for instance, a "presumption that the alien should be released" during custody hearings.