A person who wishes to live in Los Angeles because of persecution he or she has suffered in his or her native country may be able to do so under the U.S. Asylum Law. The persecution could be of many different natures including religious, racial, social and political. In order to apply for asylum, the person has to either already be in the United States or at the border.
A 37-year-old man may meet these requirements. The man came to the U.S. in 1999 from the Philippines with a tourist visa. After the visa expired, he stayed and worked in the Los Angeles area. Before he came to the country, he was the target of discrimination because of his sexual orientation. Because the man is gay, he was unable to obtain work in the Philippines. He was also robbed and beaten five times. He was unable to turn to law enforcement for help because they harassed and threatened him.
The man ran into trouble in the United States when he was convicted of drug possession. The criminal conviction led to deportation hearings. He was set to be deported until he was awarded a reprieve from a federal appeals court recently. One of the judges said that the things the man had suffered in the Philippines could constitute persecution and that there is no proof that the police in the Philippines have started to respond more favorably toward stopping and persecuting antigay hate crimes.
This is definitely a victory for immigrants who have come to the U.S. in search of a sanctuary from the persecution they have endured as a result of their sexual orientation.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Gay immigrant spared deportation because of bias in Philippines,” Maura Dolan, July 24, 2013