Gay Illegal Immigrant Denied Protection in US

October 4, 2012 - 3:34 PM

DENVER (AP) — A federal appeals court in Denver has refused to block extradition of a gay illegal immigrant who sought protection in the U.S. claiming Mexican authorities persecute gay people.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision Wednesday that there is evidence that Mexico supports gay rights, citing developments including Mexico City's legalization of gay marriage.

Efren Neri-Garcia has said he was mistreated in Mexico because he is gay and was attacked by authorities while imprisoned in Guadalajara in the 1990s. A witness told Colorado authorities gay men in Guadalajara are still being attacked and need protection.

The court of appeals disagreed.

"The Department of Homeland Security established, by a preponderance of the evidence, a fundamental change in circumstances in Mexico such that Neri-Garcia's life or freedom would not now be threatened as a result of his sexual orientation," the court ruled.

The ruling means Neri-Garcia still faces deportation.

Roberta Sklar, spokeswoman for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in New York, said Thursday there is no proof discrimination has abated in Mexico.

"Marriage equality in one city doesn't mean there is equality for everyone throughout the country and hate violence and discrimination still happen," she said.

The case was referred to an immigration judge last year after an asylum officer determined Neri-Garcia had a reasonable fear of persecution or torture in Mexico.

The immigration judge said Neri-Garcia proved he had been persecuted in the past in Mexico because of his sexual orientation, but he ruled that those conditions no longer exist.