While it might not always be apparent, there are people who have applied for asylum in Dauphin County. These people are fleeing home countries in which they would be persecuted or tortured for their religious or political beliefs, race, nationality, or because they are part of a particular social group. They are seeking protection in the U.S. and, however reluctantly, establishing a new life.
Because many people who apply for asylum are either on an expired visa, their visas expire while they are waiting for a decision or they aren’t on the right visa, applicants cannot work until they are granted asylum. If their case takes a considerable amount of time, perhaps because they tried to apply by themselves and didn’t fill the application out correctly, this can mean a considerable amount of time trying to live off of savings or the charity of others.
For one lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activist from Uganda, he is currently in this limbo while he awaits an asylum decision. He is fleeing a country that has recently criminalized homosexuality. With his name and address recently printed in the media, it is no wonder that he fears persecution if he were to return to Uganda.
He entered the country to do work on behalf of his LGBT organization, but he never assumed that he would be unable to return to Uganda. Three days after he arrived in the U.S., however, the president signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law. Since then, he has been staying in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and awaiting a decision on his asylum application.
Source: National Public Radio, “’Nowhere To Go,’ Ugandan LGBT Activist Applies For Asylum In U.S.,” May 11, 2014