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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Jamaican man secures US asylum

Source: The Jamaica Star

A Jamaican man who was staring in the face of imminent deportation from the United States of America (USA) after overstaying and being convicted of crimes in that country was spared the embarrassing trip home after telling American authorities he was a homosexual and would killed if was sent back home.

According information contained in a Miami, Florida court document dated March 2 which THE STAR perused, the local man, 28, grew up in St Ann. He, however, left that parish for St Catherine in 1997 after a run-in with friends.

The document read: "When he was attending Marcus Garvey High School, he was stoned and beaten when they found out he was gay. He was on his way home from school, and he was hugging his friend (name omitted), when some other friends saw him and they beat him and stoned him."

After fleeing to St Catherine to live with an aunt, the court document states that the alleged gay man had another life-threatening encounter all because of his sexual preference. The file read that while living in Bridgeport, a group of attackers confronted him and "held a knife at his throat and told him it was because he was gay. He was lucky that someone came along who knew him and saved him".

Vistor's visa

Information continued that following that incident, the man's mother, who was in the US, flew down and filed for him and he obtained a visitor's visa and went to that country in April 1998.

Reports further stated that he was never granted permanent resident status and remained in American beyond the six months period he was authorised to stay.

Close to five years later, he was convicted in February 2002 for unlawful use of a false name or Identity. He was also convicted of burglary of a dwelling and escaped on October 3, 2008.

Subsequent to the convictions, immigration authorities ruled that the Jamaican man be deported for violation of sections of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, particularly staying beyond the time authorised, being convicted of a crime involving a controlled substance and being convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct.

However, legal representation for the reportedly gay man filed an application for withholding of removal (a staying of the deportation order), "arguing that the (Jamaican man) would be persecuted and/or tortured in Jamaica because he is a homosexual".

Although the document stated that the man did not file for asylum until his troubles with the law started and that application was denied, the Florida court ruled: "While the respondent has committed crimes in this country, and did come to the United States with the intent of staying, facts which might cause a denial of asylum as a matter of discretion, there is no discretion with regard to withholding of removal. Therefore, the court will grant withholding of removal to Jamaica."


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