Yanelkys Moreno Agramonte, 36, and Dayana Rodríguez González, 31, had never been apart in the nearly five years since they began dating. Their lives were one until Nov. 3, 2019, when they both applied for asylum in the U.S. at a port of entry in El Paso, Texas, and they were separated a short time later.
Moreno and Rodríguez were placed into different cells as their entry into the country was processed.
“They locked me up in a small, lonely place,” Moreno told the Washington Blade on June 9 during a telephone call from the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center in Basile, La., where she remains in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. “I was there for two days and my partner was transferred the day after we arrived.”
“We lost all ties,” Rodríguez told the Blade during a telephone interview from Phoenix on June 10 where she now lives. “I didn’t know where she was and she didn’t know where I was. On the fourth day, they moved me at night to the detention center and there I was, still unsure whether they would send her there.” …
Perhaps this story would not have been so bitter if the two women had been married because ICE, in theory, allows a married asylum seeker to sponsor their spouse once it grants them “derivative” status. This process allows them to stay together as long as they present a marriage or civil union certificate.
But Moreno and Rodríguez are citizens of Cuba, an island where same-sex marriage is not yet legal. The government’s policies and social attitudes also emphasize discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
“Same-sex couples who are not married, but who are qualified to access U.S. refugee admissions under one of the three designated global processing priorities … can cross-reference their cases so they can be interviewed at the same time and, if approved by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), be resettled in the same geographic area in the United States,” says ICE.
This is how Moreno and Rodríguez did it.
Their immigration cases are the same, but Moreno in December was once again separated from Rodríguez. She was sent more than 900 miles east of El Paso to the South Louisiana ICE Correctional Center, where she currently remains in ICE custody. Rodríguez was detained in El Paso until Feb. 4 when she was released on parole and a $7,500 bond.
The two women saw each other for the last time through a door’s glass window, sending their love to each other with signs after a conversation that would define both of their lives forever. Moreno was gone the next morning and the frustration of not being able to say goodbye to her partner is painful to this day.
Couple suffered homophobia, police harassment in Cuba
Moreno and Rodríguez’s families never accepted that two women could fall in love and live together. The prejudices that still persist in Cuba and especially in Zulueta, a small town in the center of the country where they lived, were constant hurdles to their social lives and their life together as a couple.
“My parents divorced because of my sexual orientation,” said Moreno. “My father is the typical Cuban man, who said that his children could not be homosexual. My sister was the only one who always supported me.”
Rodríguez was kicked out of her home when her family found out she was in a romantic relationship with another girl.
Continue reading at: https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/06/17/lesbian-couple-from-cuba-fights-for-life-together-in-us/ (Source)