The Center for HIV Law and Policy joined with Lambda Legal and Immigration Equality in filing this friend-of-the-court brief in Matter of Anthony (a pseudonym) seeking to reverse an Immigration Judge’s (IJ) decision denying immigration protection and relief to Anthony, a gay man who is at risk of being tortured and persecuted based on his sexual orientation if he is forcibly deported to Jamaica.
In denying relief, the judge concluded that if Anthony is deported to Jamaica he could avoid persecution and torture by closeting himself and hiding his sexual orientation. CHLP, Lambda Legal and Immigration Equality argue that forcibly deporting Anthony to a country where his survival will depend on his ability to conceal his sexual orientation is a violation not only of his right to live in accordance with his conscience, but also of well-established principles of U.S. immigration law. It would force Anthony to deny a fundamental part of his identity to avoid torture, a requirement that has not been imposed on people who have sought protection based on their religious or political beliefs. To do so would make the U.S. government complicit in Anthony’s torture. Numerous other courts have held that asylum seekers are not required to change immutable characteristics or to abandon their beliefs simply to avoid future persecution.
CHLP filed a similar brief in an earlier, successful appeal in this same case in August 2013. At that time, the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed the IJ and remanded the case for further proceedings but for a second time the IJ denied Anthony’s application for immigration protection.