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    Importance of Expediting LGBTQ Ukrainian Asylum Applications in the U.S.

    By Okan Sengun, Esq.–

    My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine. The LGBT Asylum Project has worked with many Ukrainians through the years and I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to see Russia invade Ukraine, destroying their cities and endangering their friends and family.

    We have heard from many LGBTQI+ people currently living in Ukraine who are terrified of a Russian occupation of their homeland. Many of our supporters have asked us if we could help LGBTQI+ people get out of Ukraine. Unfortunately, we can only assist LGBTQI+ asylum seekers who are already in the Bay Area because the first step to apply for asylum directly to the U.S. government is to be physically in the United States. Therefore, if you know an LGBTQI+ person who is from Ukraine and currently in the U.S., you can help them by telling them about the asylum process.

    However, and this is very important, please note that if Ukraine becomes a full member of the European Union, almost all asylum applications from Ukraine in the U.S. will be in danger of getting denied. The reason being, people from EU countries are usually not eligible for asylum in the U.S. because they are free to live in any of those member countries. At this moment, we are working hard to make sure that our clients from Ukraine finalize their asylum documents so we can expedite their cases. It is imperative to get their asylum interviews, which is usually the final step in an asylum application, scheduled as soon as possible.

    If you know someone who has a pending asylum application, please stress the importance of expediting their asylum applications here in the U.S.

    I pray that this horrific war comes to an end and our LGBTQI+ family finds safe passage to a better life.

    Okan Sengun, Esq., is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of The LGBT Asylum Project

    Published on March 10, 2022