Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gay Jamaican Immigration Detainee Wins Appeal (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Gay Jamaican Immigration Detainee Wins Appeal

Olympia, WA September 17, 2008 8:31 a.m.

A gay immigration detainee from Oregon has won a key court battle. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Damion Bromfield would likely face persecution if sent back to Jamaica. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Bromfield spoke with public radio last September in a story about conditions at the crowded Northwest Immigration Center in Tacoma.

Damion Bromfield: “It’s against the law to be a gay man in Jamaica.”

Austin Jenkins: “And you’re gay?”

Damion Bromfield: “Yes.”

Austin Jenkins: “What will happen to you if you go back?”

Damion Bromfield: “I will be killed by the forces that the Jamaican government are unwilling or unable to control.”

Now a year later, the 9th Circuit has sided with Bromfield. It’s a ruling that could set a precedent for other gay immigration detainees.

The court found that in Jamaica there’s a pattern or practice of persecution of gay men. That means Bromfield will get another hearing before an immigration judge.

The government sought to deport Bromfield after he was convicted of felony theft and a sex crime.

Bromfield’s attorney says he’s confident his client will ultimately win his case and be able to stay in the U.S. He says Bromfield is eager to return to his family in Portland.

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