March 4, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Paul Ryan justifies Trump’s immigration ban; Obama ‘put a preference in for sexual orientation’

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) justified the portion of President Trump’s refugee policy that institutes a priority for religious minorities by asserting the Obama administration prioritized refugees facing anti-LGBT persecution — an assertion one LGBT advocate says is totally wrong.

Ryan made the comments Thursday during his weekly news briefing when defending Trump’s controversial executive order, which has been criticized as a Muslim ban because it prohibits people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

“This is not a Muslim ban,” Ryan said. “If it were, I would be against it. We are a tolerant, pluralistic country. We are and we will be. It’s really important.”

Ryan recalled a bill the Republican-controlled Congress passed in 2015 that would have banned Syrian refugees from entering the United States amid civil war and atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq. Forty-seven House Democrats voted in favor of that legislation, including gay Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who is bisexual.

“The bill we passed last year, if you recall, after the Paris shooting, it became clear to us that one of the terrorists infiltrated the refugee population coming from Syria,” Ryan said. “So, we wanted to make sure that that didn’t happen in this country. That’s just sort of National Security 101.”

Ryan said the bill came about after lawmakers asked government officials if they could vet Syrian refugees to ensure terrorist attacks like the one in Paris wouldn’t happen in the United States and they said, “‘No. We Can’t.’” Despite Ryan’s words, the Obama administration insisted refugees go through an extreme vetting process removing anyone with potential ties to terrorism.

“And so that’s why we passed legislation with 289 votes — a big, bipartisan bill saying let’s this pause this program until we can figure out how to get it right,” Ryan said. “That’s effectively what this is about.”

The Trump order bars Syrian refugees indefinitely and more generally places a 120-day ban on refugees entering the United States pending review, but when the review is completed institutes a preference for refugees seeking asylum from religious persecution.

Ryan asserted that policy isn’t a religious test — which may be unconstitutional — by asserting the Obama administration made a priority for refugees facing anti-LGBT persecution.

“Presidents always and often put preferences in refugee populations,” Ryan said. “I think President Obama had one for sexual orientation. They didn’t call that a sexual-orientation test. He put a preference in for sexual orientation.”

Ryan made the case a priority for refugees facing religious persecution makes sense because religious minorities, such as Christians in the Middle East as well as Sunni Muslims in Shia countries are being targeted.

“So there’s nothing wrong in saying we’re going to take into account minority religious persecution with our refugee situation,” Ryan concluded.

In 2015, then-White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest indeed stated LGBT people facing persecution overseas would be a priority for refugees coming into the United States, but one of many priority classifications of people, including race and religion.

Earnest made the remarks in response to a request from LGBT advocates led by the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration, or ORAM, to set aside 500 slots for LGBT people facing persecution in the 10,000 additional Syrian refugees former President Obama wanted in the United States.

“There are no quotas that are set aside, but the process that we have implemented does prioritize the cases of those who have been subjected to torture, including like the torture that you described, or might have been singled out for their status as a minority, whether that’s a racial minority or an ethnic minority or a religious minority, or even somebody — an LGBT person,” Earnest said.

Neil Grungras, executive director of ORAM, said “there is no fact” in Ryan’s remarks defending Trump’s immigration order because LGBT people never in fact received a priority.

“It is true that the Obama administration’s 2011 memorandum on LGBT rights worldwide set out several areas of focus including LGBT refugees and asylum seekers,” Grungras said. “However the administration never gave priority of any kind to LGBT refugees. The State Department’s refugee bureau consistently declined to set out a special category for this extremely vulnerable group and also declined to set out a quota or target number. Such was the response to ORAM’s petition calling for admission of 500 LGBT refugees.”

Of the more than 70,000 refugees the Obama administration admitted to the United States last year, Grungras estimated fewer than 200 came in under the LGBT social group category.

—  This article was provided to The Pride Los Angeles by the National Gay Media Association and was written by The Washington Blade.

Related Posts

LAHSA Report Exposes Failures of Anti-Camping Ordinance, Allegedly Kept Secret Since November

March 3, 2024

March 3, 2024

City Controller and Council Members Speak Out Against Withheld Report  LA City Controller Kenneth Meija posted comments on social media...

AI-Generated Classmate Nudes: Beverly Hills Students Face Investigation

March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024

School District Says Potential Expulsion for Involved Students An investigation is underway after authorities discovered that students at a Beverly...

Owasso Police Correct Assumption That Fight Did Not Cause Nex Benedict’s Death

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Police Releases Three Videos, Including One of a Nex Benedict Hospital Interview An incorrect assumption has spread that Nex Benedict,...

Hollywood Prepares for 96th Oscars: Street Closures and Traffic Updates Revealed

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ceremony to Close Local Streets The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,...

FTC Takes Legal Action to Block $24.6 Billion Kroger-Albertsons Merger

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Largest Proposed Supermarket Merger Faces Antitrust Allegations The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block Kroger...

Discover Alcohol-Free Wine and Spirits at The New Bar West Hollywood

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

West Hollywood’s Sober Space for Curated Tastings & More A haven for those seeking an alcohol-free social experience, The New...

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @centurycitywestwoodnews Pro-Palestine...

West Hollywood Authorities Seek Public’s Help to Identify Suspect in Assault with Deadly Weapon

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Second Suspect in Assault on Security Ambassador on Santa Monica Boulevard Still at Large Detectives from the Los Angeles County...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Recognize Outstanding Performances in 2023

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

SAG Awards Celebrate Excellence in Motion Pictures and Television The prestigious Screen Actors Guild Awards® celebrated the excellence in motion...