We at the Center often get interesting mail, usually about someone trying to beat the immigration law, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
Today's stories are about two heterosexuals from Uganda, a woman and a man, both of whom lied about their sexual preferences — proclaiming falsely that they were gay — in order to obtain legal status here.
Pretending To Be Lesbian. The source of this account appears to be a black American male; he fell in love with a straight Ugandan woman (who previously had a child with a Ugandan man, one whom she had wanted to marry). We are using no names here as we have only one side of these stories; we will call this one Ms. X.
Ms. X came here on a tourist visa, overstayed, and then applied for asylum on the grounds that she was a lesbian and would be in terrible trouble if she stayed in Uganda; then our informant, who does not handle the language well, reported: "While dating her, she assured me that she was on birth control because she does not want to give immigration any sign that she was not gay which would void her asylum."
Presumably he meant "while dating me"; it sounds like the kind of conversation that takes place between people who had slept together.
Uganda has a reputation for hostility to homosexuality, which was reinforced when it passed a piece of legislation in 2014 that, in an earlier version, had called for the death penalty for homosexual acts. In the final version, that was changed to a life sentence, but the earlier provision had, understandably, attracted widespread press attention; subsequently, with much less media coverage, the nation's supreme court ruled it unconstitutional.
Despite the fact that, according to our source, "she only dated men," Ms. X evidently was granted asylum. Our source also sent us a link to the Daily Monitor, a Ugandan publication that provided us with the next item.
Pretending To Be Gay. Mr. Y also arrived on a tourist visa, also overstayed, and got a good job in Kansas. When the economy soured a few years ago, he lost the job and then, according to the Uganda paper:
He packed his belongings, jumped onto a train and headed to the east coast. For the long and tiring journey that it was, [Mr. Y] found more than enough room to sleep. However, along the way, he was jolted out of his sleep by curious homeland security personnel concerned about the amount of luggage he carried. They asked him to show his paper work. He panicked. Of course he didn't have any and the officials were more than glad to apprehend yet another illegal immigrant.
That account suggests three things to me: 1) most people do not travel cross-country by train, but some illegals do; 2) I had no idea DHS officers rode those trains; and 3) if you are an illegal alien, travel light.
Mr. Y, then in removal proceedings, successfully used a defensive asylum application; Ms. X apparently used an affirmative one, not being in the deportation process. For more on the differences between the two, see here.
Back to the big picture: When I first worked for the feds in the 1960s, any whiff of homosexual activity would cause a quiet firing, with absolutely no due process. Later we began to accept gays and lesbians as federal workers; then we moved to granting immigration benefits to spouses in same-sex marriages; then some gay people were elected to major public offices; and here we have some aliens lying about their heterosexual lives in order to secure immigration benefits that they could only receive as gays. The world turns.