Juntos, an immigrant rights group, and GALAEI, a queer Latin social justice organization, recently formed an online petition requesting the release of a gay undocumented immigrant from Mexico who has been separated from his husband since last month. So far, more than 1,000 signatures have been collected.
CBS Philadelphia reported that, on January 31, Jose “Ivan” Nuñez and his husband, Robert Paul Frame, met with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for their I-130 petition, which a U.S. citizen attempts to obtain legal status for a foreign-born relative, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials came in and arrested Mr. Nuñez, who is now at the York County (PA) Detention Center. The news report stated that Mr. Nuñez, who has been married to Mr. Frame since 2016, was previously deported in 2010.
The petition states that the USCIS deemed the marriage petition to be valid and that Mr. Nuñez “passed his Reasonable Fear interview, meaning there is no reason why he should still be in detention.” It further stated that Mr. Nuñez’s life would be in jeopardy if he were to be deported again because of his sexual orientation. His sister, who is a lesbian, still lives in Mexico and is currently in hiding with her partner; in addition, several of their friends who still live in Mexico have been assaulted for their sexual orientation.
In response to Mr. Nuñez’s detention and possible removal, ICE issued the following statement to CBS Philadelphia: “ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. However, as ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes of categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removed from the United States.”
The New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP understand the issues LGBT non-citizens face and offer immigration legal services in an LGBT-friendly environment. Whether you or your loved one are seeking citizenship, asylum, or are facing deportation, our immigration lawyers are available to help protect your legal rights and attain pathways to legal residence or citizenship. For more information, or for a consultation, call (212) 267-2555.