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Gay Mexican immigrant arrested by ICE during US citizenship application

Meka Beresford February 20, 2018
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ICE detention centre

(Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A gay Mexican man has been arrested by ICE during his hearing on his citizenship application.

Jose “Ivan” Nunez, 37, was detained after a hearing at the Philadelphia office of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by ICE officials.

Nunez was at the hearing with his husband, Paul Frame, but he was arrested after Frame was ushered out of the hearing meaning that Nunez was taken into federal custody without his husband’s immediate knowledge.

The Mexican was at the USCIS hearing to have his marriage to Frame formerly recognised, and he was successful.

However, his is being detained because he reportedly entered the country illegally in 2010.

Related: Gay Iranian man fears he cannot re-enter US under new Trump order

It is “standard practice” for ICE agents to be notified if immigrants with deportation warrants are at USCIS offices, a spokesperson for USCIS confirmed, but Gonzalo Peralta, Nunez’ immigration attorney, said that it is rare people are captured.

He criticised the way the arrest was carried out, noting that prior to the Trump administration it was nearly unheard of the see people detained during proceedings.

Related: Gay couple files lawsuit after one of their twins is denied US citizenship

Peralta said: “You approve his marriage, but at the same time you’re trying to contact the very agency that would be in charge of trying to get him out of the country.

“Prior to the Trump administration, we weren’t seeing very many people actually being sought and captured when they’re trying to go through these proceedings.

“It’s only been very recently and with Ivan’s case that we’ve actually seen ICE go into USCIS offices.”

(Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Frame said that he feels the arrest was unjust because his husband was trying to get his citizenship legally.

He explained: “I was trying to help him get a better life and move forward.

“I had no doubt that morning that we were going to go in and come out and everything was going to be fine. I never thought that we were not going to be coming out together.”

Related: HIV-positive man to be deported from the US to Venezuela despite lack of access to treatment

He added that it was bound to put people off going through the process legally.

“Who that is not legal is going to go through this process?” he asked. “I’d rather stay at home, and be safe and secure, and have him with me.”

The 52-year-old fears that if his husband is deported he will be killed because of his sexuality.

“That is the reason Ivan fled Mexico in the first place,” Frame said. “That’s his fear, that if he goes back to Mexico, that he’ll be killed for his sexuality.”

Related topics: Americas, arrest, ICE detention centre, immigration, LGBT, Mexico, Mexico, same sex marriage, US, US

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