By Chris Johnson
President Obama issued a proclamation on Thursday that could prohibit those engaging in LGBT persecution overseas from entering the United States.
The proclamation bars entry of immigrant and non-immigrant aliens who organize or participate in war crimes or serious violations of human rights — which could include those seeking to pass legislation in Uganda that would institute the death penalty for homosexual acts.
“The United States’ enduring commitment to respect for human rights and humanitarian law requires that its Government be able to ensure that the United States does not become a safe haven for serious violators of human rights and humanitarian law and those who engage in other related abuses,” Obama states.Specific language in the proclamation explicitly states that those who persecute people based on their “sexual orientation and gender identity” are among the categories of those who won’t be able to enter the United States. Additionally, the proclamation prevents not only those who perpetuated human rights abuses overseas from entering the United States, but also those who have “attempted or conspired to do so.”
“The proclamation also bans admission to the United States for those who are complicit in organizing these abuses — not just those who carry them out,” a White House fact sheet states. “As such, it allows the United States to act before planned abuses and atrocities metastasize into actual ones.”The proclamation gives the secretary of state, or the secretary’s designee, the authority to identify people who won’t be able to enter the United States based on this new guidance. However, other language in the proclamation states that such an individual could enter the country if the secretary of state determines that the “entry of such person would be in the interests of the United States.”
Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, said the order gives the Obama administration “an important tool to use in dissuading extremist actions that are prejudicial to basic human rights, and in encouraging the development of inclusive laws and societies.”
“The Council praises this move, which could in principle be used to justify the exclusion of hate-promoting politicians like Ugandan parliamentarian David Bahati, who introduced a ‘kill the gays bill’ in a previous legislative session in Uganda and may do so again,” Bromley said. “That bill, of course, would have carried dire consequences for LGBT individuals in Uganda.”