RELEASE: Extending Humanitarian Parole for LGBT People will Help Reunite Couples Separated by Discriminatory Laws in Their Home Countries

Washington, D.C. – Under U.S. law, spouses of citizens, refugees, asylees, and lawful permanent residents are allowed to come into the United States. Partners of citizens are also eligible for a visa to enter the states so that they can be married. However, unmarried partners of green-card holders, asylees, and refugees are not allowed to enter the United States. This burden is acutely felt by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, couples who are unable to marry in their home countries and remain with their loved ones.

The Center for American Progress has released a column that calls for the expanded use of humanitarian parole to allow long-term partners of refugees and asylees who have fled persecution for their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as green-card holders, to be temporarily admitted into the United States in order to marry.

“LGBT asylees and refugees in the United States often find themselves faced with a horrible Catch-22. They’ve fled their home countries because of persecution they face simply for being LGBT, yet they can’t bring their loved ones to the United States for years because they could not marry in their home country,” said Sharita Gruberg, Senior Policy Analyst at CAP and author of the column. “Humanitarian parole is one way that the U.S. government can reunite these couples, and the program should be administered in a way that aims to keep LGBT partners and families together.”

Humanitarian parole is a discretionary grant that is currently available in only limited circumstances and allows an otherwise ineligible individual to enter the United States for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit.” CAP’s column calls for rejected humanitarian parole applications from LGBT individuals to be reviewed in order to ensure they were adjudicated properly; guidance to clarify under what circumstances humanitarian parole is available, as well as guidance on the barriers LGBT couples face accessing marriage and visas; and finally that future immigration reform legislation include provisions designed to reunite same-sex couples who are unable to legally marry in their home countries.

Click here to read the column.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.