Friday, October 30, 2009

Promising Developments in Immigration Policies!

Today I've read about two excellent developments in President Obama's policies toward immigration and inclusion:

As reported today in the New York Times, "the administration has recommended political asylum for a Guatemalan woman fleeing horrific abuse by her husband, the strongest signal yet that the administration is open to a variety of asylum claims from foreign women facing domestic abuse." Finally, an option for women fleeing domestic abuse in other countries.

And another encouraging development:

Today President Obama announced the lifting of a 20-year ban on travel into the U.S. for foreigners infected with HIV. They will now be able to travel and immigrate without restriction. The travel ban has barred HIV-positive foreigners from obtaining permanent immigration status or entering the U.S. without special waivers. We are one of only 12 nations, including Armenia, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, that still deny entry to HIV-infected people.

Many years ago at Holden Village we met an HIV-positive, gay Canadian pastor (who was unable to be rostered at the time because he was in a committed gay relationship), and he spoke of his fear and anxiety each time he crossed the border into the U.S. He was terrified that Immigration would search his bags and find his supply of medications and figure out that he was HIV positive. At the time, not only had his church rejected him, but he couldn't even travel freely across the border without fear.

These two news items might not garner a lot of attention in the press, but they are deeply significant actions, expressing hope for a more inclusive approach to the world and victims of HIV and domestic violence.

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