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Old 01-31-2007, 09:05 AM   #1
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Judge Reverses Decision, Grants US Asylum To Gay Mexican Man

(AP)LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles immigration judge who previously denied a gay man's 2004 asylum bid on the grounds that the man simply could conceal his sexual orientation if he returned to his native Mexico reversed the decision Tuesday.

In allowing Jorge Sota Vega to remain in the United States, Judge John D. Taylor said that gays should not be required to dress or act a certain way to avoid persecution and that Vega's lawyers proved he would be at risk if he were deported to Mexico.

Vega, 38, who lived in Tuxpan and Guadalajara before he fled to the United States, said he was beaten by police and told by authorities in Mexico he would be killed.

His case attracted attention from national gay rights groups after Taylor denied his application, saying that even though there was evidence suggesting Vega had faced harassment, he could live safely in Mexico because he did not look gay and could hide the fact that he was. (What exactly constitutes "looking gay"?)

"It seemed to us this is a real double standard," said Jon W. Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal. "Courts don't deny asylum to someone based on their political beliefs by saying, 'If you just didn't tell other people what you believed, you would be fine.'"

Vega, who now lives in New York, appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The San Francisco-based appeals court sent the case back to immigration court last year after finding that Vega's past persecution was reason enough to think he would be harmed in the future.

Davidson said Taylor's new ruling "showed a change in attitude and an understanding that the same standard should apply for gay people who are seeking asylum."

Check out some of the comments in msnbc about this story.


He's only faking being gay to get into the US, now they will all do that and pseudo gay Mexicans will take over our country or something..

Someone posted this comment, I have no idea what the situation is there but if true that is outrageous

Unfortunately, homosexuals ARE commonly murdered or gang raped in Mexico, usually by the police themselves. If anything, the U.S. should pressure the Mexican government into doing something about it. Just granting asylum to people is not going to help the situation in Mexico.

Another comment

If this guy applied for asylum upon entry in the US, he was NOT here illegally. That is the proper way to get legal status. If he requested asylum he had to show actual evidence of abuse and persecution. You don't get to just go into court and say "I'm being persecuted" and get legal status, it's a fairly intense process. For those interested, I suggest Do they Hear You When You Cry, the autobiography of a woman seeking asylum because she faced a forced marriage and female genital mutilation if she returned. If this guy could show that (and by this article he apparently could show he was harassed and threatened), then the application should be granted. The idea that he should just go home and pretend not to be gay is ignorant and cruel (particularly since apparently his community was already fully aware that he was gay.

Just because he's Mexican and we have illegal immigration issues with that country doesn't mean he should be punished or denied an asylum hearing.

And being homosexual still has such a worldwide negative stigma that most men aren't going to line up and announce their gay. They're also not going to be able to show documented harassment and threats unless they've actually faced them. This isn't the opening of the floodgates, everyone relax.
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