A group of self-identified LGBT individuals and community rights activists gathered in Boyle Heights Monday to urge Congress not to deport so-called “Dreamers” and DACA recipients.

Gay rights advocates met at Mi Centro in Boyle Heights, a local LGBT center, to say the difference between deportation and staying in the United States is a matter of safety.

“Deportation is comparable to a death sentence for LGBTQ people in many parts of the world,” Los Angeles LGBT Center Director of Policy and Community Building Dave Garcia said in a press release. “Same-sex relationships are criminalized in nearly 80 countries worldwide. Rescinding DACA would put thousands of these young people at risk by forcing them to return to countries where human rights for LGBTQ people are nonexistent.”

Nearly 700,000 people guarded against deportation under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are set to get their protective status removed as President Trump’s administration winds the program down. Lawmakers have struggled to find a solution that would be supported in Congress while protecting these immigrants who arrived as children from deportation.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center says that a report by the University of California Los Angeles puts the number of LGBT-identified Dreamers at 75,000 and half of those are in the DACA program. These immigrants are called Dreamers for their connection to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act which many believe is the legislative answer to protecting DACA-eligible immigrants from deportation. 28 percent of LGBT Dreamers live in California according to the UCLA report.

Kyle García is a former web editor with Boyle Heights Beat.

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