On Feb 10, 2017 NBC News reported: African LGBTQ refugees hoping to come to the United States got the news they had hoped for Thursday night — they would not have to remain in countries where they face persecution or even death.
The news came after a three-judge federal appeals court panel refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order that barred visitors from seven Muslim-majority nations for up to 90 days and suspended worldwide refugee entry into the United States for 120 days.
‘Lives at Grave Risk’
African Human Rights Coalition Executive Director Melanie Nathan was elated when she heard the news.
“I was sitting here sweating because my trans[gender] refugee is in the air between Nairobi and [Europe], which will be her fist stop right now, and I had visions of her having to be stuck in [Europe] or rerouted. There’s just been so much drama,” Nathan told NBC Out just minutes after the news was announced.
The activist had been working day and night to get six LGBTQ African refugees into the U.S. before President Trump’s suspension could get reinstated. She said the transgender refugee, whose identity and nationality are being hidden for her protection, had waited two years to come to the U.S. where she could live free from persecution for her gender identity.
“These are people who are discriminated against and criminalized in their country and persecuted and their lives are at grave risk,” Nathan said. “They’ve gone through years of vetting and finally they’re on their way here.”
President Trump’s executive order was temporarily blocked by a federal judge in Washington State on February 3. That gave refugees a window of time to travel to the U.S. while the Justice Department sought a stay to the ruling.