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AILA Doc. No. 20060462 | Dated June 4, 2020
AILA recognizes the LGBT Asylum Project of San Francisco, CA, with the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Award for outstanding efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion excellence in the immigration legal profession.
WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognizes the LGBT Asylum Project of San Francisco, CA, with the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Award for outstanding efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion excellence in the immigration legal profession.
The LGBT Asylum Project is the only San Francisco nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to providing accessible legal representation for LGBT asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or HIV status. Okan Sengun is the executive director and cofounder of the LGBT Asylum Project. Okan founded the LGBT Asylum Project on the basic human principle that no one should face imprisonment or death for being who they are or for who they love.
Project clients arrive in the United States with horrendous histories of imprisonment, bodily harm, torture, and psychological trauma. These atrocities are inflicted on them by their own governments, countrymen, and, worst of all, friends and families. They have committed no crime, yet cannot live freely in their own countries due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many have faced excruciating challenges to escape their home countries and travel to the United States. The Project works directly with clients to ensure that they receive the most suitable and appropriate services based on each case. Clients originate from all over the world, from countries including, but not limited to, Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam, which are known for extreme and violent persecution of LGBT communities.
The LGBT Asylum Project provides support to immigrants who are in the San Francisco Asylum Office jurisdiction (from Bakersfield, CA, to Seattle, WA), identify as LGBTQ+, and have been persecuted or have fears of future persecution if they return to their home country. The LGBT Asylum Project is the very first immigration law group to be located in the historic Castro District. In 2019 alone, the LGBT Asylum Project served 169 LGBTQ Immigrants. As a direct result of Okan's dedication, the LGBT Asylum Project has a 100 percent success rate in successfully assisting LGBTQ Immigrants attain asylum.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20060462.