Spectrum Human Rights continues to lobby the US Congress, the US State Department and the White House to establish a special refugee program for Russian LGBT people. It has been proposed to model this program after the similar successful program back in the 70s-80s that helped Soviet Jews to immigrate to the USA.
Scores of Russian gays are seeking an asylum in the US right now. However, it means that they have to wait for 8-12 months before being able to start working and become productive.
According to Larry Poltavtsev, President of Spectrum Human Rights:
“It makes no sense because most of our [asylum seekers] have advanced degrees and speak good English. They’re capable of being productive, paying taxes, but we are not letting them do those things while they’re waiting.“ (Associated Press, November 29, 2014)
As per Masha Gessen, a Moscow-born journalist and activist whose family moved to the U.S. in 1981 and who holds U.S. and Russian citizenship:
“There’s no worse way to immigrate to the U.S. than the way these people [asylum seekers] are doing it,” Gessen said. “You have nothing, and you have no right to work or public assistance. We’ve seen people end up on the streets.”
Having group refugee status would allow for an immigration process to go far easier than that faced by today’s asylum seekers who must prove their individual case.
We ask all our supporters to contact your US congressmen and senators and request them to approve the special refugee program for Russian LGBT people.