People perceived to be gay could be eligible for asylum, U.S. court says

People perceived to be gay could be eligible for asylum, U.S. court says

  • Persons considered to be homosexual could be ‘social group’ underneath asylum legislation
  • Court docket claims immigration board must make a decision difficulty
  • Guatemalan female crushed, threatened for carrying men’s dresses

(Reuters) – A U.S. immigration board ought to choose no matter whether non-U.S. citizens who are perceived to be homosexual in their house international locations can qualify for asylum in the U.S. no matter of their true sexual orientation, a federal appeals court stated on Thursday.

A three-decide panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived an asylum bid by Rebeca Cristobal Antonio, a Guatemalan citizen who states she been given loss of life threats and was confronted by an offended mob and crushed by household associates mainly because they believed she is a lesbian based on the way she dressed.

To be qualified for asylum under U.S. immigration regulation, an applicant must display a credible worry of persecution in their household place centered on membership in a “cognizable social group.”

The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has for decades held that gay folks from sure nations qualify as such social teams.

The BIA was incorrect to locate that Antonio’s asylum application had additional to do with the way she dressed than her sexual orientation, Circuit Decide Mark Bennett wrote for the panel.

“This discovering concentrated exclusively on Antonio, assigning no bodyweight to the perceptions of her persecutors,” Circuit Choose Gabriel Sanchez wrote in a concurring viewpoint.

The U.S. Section of Justice and a attorney for Antonio did not quickly reply to requests for remark.

Antonio applied for asylum in 2014, claiming she feared that she could be killed in Guatemala due to the fact of her perceived sexual orientation. Antonio says she wore men’s outfits to operate, which led kin and neighbors to conclude that she was homosexual.

An immigration decide dominated that Antonio’s proposed social group of “females in Guatemala who are perceived to have male tendencies and are witnessed as risky to the group” was also vague and dismissed her application.

The choose also said the asylum bid was based on “a gown issue” and not on her real sexual orientation. The BIA upheld that decision in 2021.

Antonio appealed and the 9th Circuit on Thursday granted her petition for critique.

Sanchez in his concurring feeling claimed he believed that folks perceived as homosexual would qualify as a social team centered on other courtroom cases that involved perceived or imputed traits.

Sanchez cited past 9th Circuit choices in which folks perceived as keeping particular political views or spiritual beliefs have been deemed cognizable social teams.

The panel also provided U.S. District Choose Elizabeth Foote of the Western District of Louisiana, who sat by designation.

The scenario is Antonio v. Garland, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-70624.

For Antonio: Marco Jimenez of Jimenez Regulation Place of work

For the government: John Stanton of the U.S. Division of Justice

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Trust Ideas.