Gay Targeting in Mexico May Block Deportation
(CN) - Immigration officials must reconsider the plight of an HIV-positive gay man who claims that he will be persecuted if deported to Mexico, the 7th Circuit ruled.
Miguel Rosiles-Camarena, a Mexican citizen, entered the United States in 1977 at the age of 10. Since he never became an American citizen, however, he was ordered removed to Mexico after being convicted of felony indecent solicitation of a minor.
Rosiles-Camarena asked for relief under the Convention Against Torture, claiming that he would be persecuted in Mexico because he is openly gay and has HIV.
The immigration judge agreed with Rosiles-Camarena that deportation would put him at risk for persecution, noting that 148 people were killed in Mexico on the basis of their sexual orientation between 1995 and 2006.
The Board of Immigration Appeals looked at the same statistics differently. It said that 12 or 13 deaths per year in a population of 110 million, 2 percent of which is gay, would give Rosiles-Camarena a 1 in 100,000 chance of being killed over his orientation.
The case proceeded to the Chicago-based 7th Circuit, which used an example to reveal that the board did not give the statistics their proper weight.
"A medical prediction about whether a victim of injury will recover is factual, even though it rests on the application of medical knowledge to subsidiary facts," Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for a three-member panel.
Here, the board must consider facts that are specific to Rosiles-Camarena.
"For although we have mentioned so far only the risk of death for homosexuals as a group, Rosiles-Camarena contends that he is at greater risk," Easterbrook wrote. "He is not only gay and HIV-positive but also 'out' and planning to live openly with his partner. He contends, and the immigration judge found, that his family has disowned him and will not offer any support."
The court also noted Rosiles-Camarena's argument that he has lived most of his life in the United States and will not know how to avoid attracting the attention of people who could hurt him.
Easterbrook remanded the case to the board, asking it not to determine whether Rosiles-Camarena could be killed, but whether he could also be injured or denied economic opportunities.