Orgs Appeal Ruling Denying HIV Positive Man Asylum

Eight LGBT, immigration and HIV activist groups have come together to plead for the U.S. to not deport a gay, HIV positive Mexican man back to his home country.

The Center for HIV Law and Policy joined the groups to write an amicus brief, Doe v. Holder, in support of providing the man (whose name was redacted) asylum for fear that he could be beaten, raped and killed when he returns to Mexico because of his sexual orientation and HIV status.

“Before deporting someone to torture, courts should make nuanced decisions based on a review of all relevant factors,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, CHLP Legal Director, in a press release. “In this case, there has been no consideration at all of on-the-ground realities and attitudes about HIV.”

Since 1994, immigration law in the U.S. has recognized HIV-positive and LGBT people as eligible for asylum. However, it’s not a sure thing.

An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals denied asylum to the man, claiming that there has been progress for LGBT Mexicans. While strides have been made in the country, including the election of the first openly gay mayor in the city of Fresnillo last year, the writers of the amicus brief aren’t satisfied.

According to the release, people with HIV and who are LGBT experience “police misconduct and government-sanctioned violence and brutality, to the denial of access to lifesaving medical care and treatment.”

In 2007, a gay teacher attended a gay rights march wearing women’s clothing. He was attacked and lost his job. When he went to appeal his dismissal, he was beaten by police, arrested, and raped in jail, according to the State Department’s Human Rights Report for Mexico.

The next year, a gay, HIV-positive man was killed after being tortured, beaten with rocks, and suffocated while his hands were tied behind his back, according to Edge Boston. A sign was left near his body, discovered on a dirt road, that read, “This is what happens to me for going around infecting people with AIDS.”

In the amicus brief, the man seeking asylum knew he was gay from a young age and was beaten by his father for not acting “like a boy.” Until the age of 14, male cousins, an uncle, and a neighbor repeatedly raped and beat him for being gay. He became free from the abuse when he left at 14 to live in the U.S. with his mother.

He was diagnosed HIV positive in 2012 and is on medications — medicines the advocacy groups say are harder to find in Mexico. He may be denied treatment because of anti-LGBT bias or even purposefully given the wrong medication, which has been reported.


As originally printed in South Florida Gay News.

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