US president Joe Biden has issued a presidential memorandum which aims to expand protections for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers worldwide. According to Sahara Reporters, the US intends to consider financial sanctions and visa restrictions for countries which fail to improve LGBTQ+ rights. The US government will also attend to the needs of those who have fled their home country due to fear of being persecuted.
Biden said in a statement: “The Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security shall ensure appropriate training is in place so that relevant Federal Government personnel and key partners can effectively identify and respond to the particular needs of LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers, including by providing to them adequate assistance and ensuring that the Federal Government takes all appropriate steps, such as potential increased use of Embassy Priority-1 referrals, to identify and expedite resettlement of highly vulnerable persons with urgent protection needs.”
The memorandum is part of efforts from Biden to improve LGBTQ+ rights globally. In February, he pledged to do so, saying: “We will ensure diplomacy and foreign assistance are working to promote the rights of those individuals included by combatting criminalization and promoting LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers”. White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Biden’s outspokenness on LGBTQ+ rights “reflects his deep commitment to these issues both here in the United States and everywhere around the world.”