US: Deportation of gay man halted as he could face persecution in Philippines
A gay Filipino immigrant living in the US who had been ordered to be deported, on Wednesday was given permission to stay on the grounds that he would face persecution if he returned to the Phillipines, because he is gay.
According to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Dennis Vitug, a 37-year-old who has been working in Los Angeles County had struggled for several years with an addiction to mephamphetamine.
An immigration appeals panel had ordered that he be removed from the US as a result of convictions for drug possession, reports the LA Times.
He has now been allowed to stay, because of the threat of persecution back in the Philippines.
When in the Philippines, Vitug had been beaten and robbed five times because he was perceived to be effeminate.
The court also said that he had been harassed and threatened by police, and that he had been denied work because of his sexual orientation.
“No reasonable fact finder could conclude that the harm Vitug suffered did not rise to the level of persecution,” wrote Judge Harry Pregerson.
The court said that Vitug had sought counselling for his drug addiction but that he had relapsed after he was diagnosed with HIV in 2005.
After overstaying his tourist visa which he got on entering the US in 1999, he worked as an assistant designer for a Sherman Oaks hotel, and as a shipping clerk, as well as studying fashion design.