(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – A Jamaican gay man has failed in his bid to have a United States appellate court hear his appeal against his deportation, as he could not prove that he would face “state-sanctioned persecution” in Jamaica over his sexual orientation.
Anthony Murry had resided in the United States for 16 years, but his request for permanent residency in that country was denied in 2011.
He was then ordered to be deported from the US, but he subsequently appealed that decision.
In its October 7 written decision, a copy of which was obtained by OBSERVER ONLINE, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the initial decision by the US’s Board of Immigration Appeals to remove Murry from that country.
“Murry feared that private citizens may confront him, a gay man, about his sexual orientation or the government may punish him for violating Jamaica’s anti-sodomy laws,” wrote the panel of three US judges.
“But Jamaica rarely enforces its anti-sodomy laws for consensual sexual relations, and recent reports show growing public support for gay rights.
“Because substantial evidence supports the Board’s decision that Murry does not face a likelihood of state-sanctioned persecution, we deny Murry’s petition,” the judges added.
According to the court document, Murry entered the United States in 2005 “as the fiancé” of an American citizen, “whom he married one month later”.
“Murry eventually applied for permanent residence based on the marriage, but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services denied the request in 2011. The government then started removal proceedings,” the October 7 appeal decision stated.
Of note, there was no explanation as to why Murry was being removed from the United States.
Despite the removal proceedings, Murry has remained in the US without “authorisation”, the document indicated.
At his initial removal hearing, Murry sought “relief based on his sexual orientation”.
He further testified that he has been attracted to men since he was a teenager in Jamaica in the 1980s.
“Murry said that he was attacked once, in 2004, after a man publicly called him gay and urged bystanders to shun him. Five men then hit and kicked Murry, who was bruised; fearing repercussions, he did not seek medical care or ask the police for help,” the court document said.
But the immigration judge at the removal hearing denied Murry’s relief from removal, due to overwhelming evidence suggesting, among other things, that “police officers have protected gay people from violence”.
Unsatisfied with that ruling, Murry appealed.
However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit concluded last week that the immigration judge’s “denial of relief was proper”.