Social groups have been regarded as one of the most important grounds for granting asylum, especially when they are based on unchangeable and immutable factors. Therefore, several categories come under the definition of Social groups.
With reference to some of the early decisions in Matter of Toboso-Alfonso, 20 I&N Dec. 819 (B.I.A. 1990), Pitcherskaia v. INS, 118 F.3d 641 (9th Cir. 1997), and Hernandez-Montiel v. INS, 225 F.3d 1084 (9th Cir. 2000), the courts have recognized sexual orientation to be a social group, people who identity to be homosexual and transgender with special regard.
Although in most of the scenarios, it has been noticed that most of the denials of asylum in the LGBTQ community stem from issues relating to the inability to establish the alleged facts or from legal technicalities, if any individual is to face persecution on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity, here are some of the documents one is required to provide during the hearing:
- Details of the incident of harm during the asylum application and testimony: Name, Date, Facts, and Reasoning for believing the occurrence to be persecution on account of being a part of the LGBT+ community.
- Evidence of membership in the LGBTQ+ community to be regarded as a member of the social group.
- Information about the native country and proof of ostracization or brutality faced there by the individual owing to their gender orientation or sexuality. (One can go through the U.S. Department of State “Country Reports on Human Rights ” for information to support their claim.)
All of the documents, applications, and testimonials must be plausible, comprehensive, and concordant with the facts claimed to establish one’s plea firmly to the Immigration judge or officer in question. It will increase the chances of their asylum being granted.
In order to prove the LGBTQ+ identity, it is necessary to submit copies of the documents relevant to their identity and bring the originals during the hearing. Specific examples of relevant documents are :
- New birth certificates with their revised gender identity or orientation.
- A marriage certificate proving matrimony with someone of their preferred gender or sexual orientation.
- Memberships in recognized LGBTQ+ organizations.
- Sworn affidavits from people who confirm the gender identity or sexual orientation of the person.
The questions from the judge or office arising in this aspect must be appropriate, meaningful, and relevant to the concern at hand. For more information, it is most advisable to consult with our Immigration attorneys, who specialize in Asylum laws and serving the queer community.
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