Monday, September 22, 2008

9th Circuit Halts Deportation of Homosexual Criminal Who Fears Persecution in His Native Jamaica

A federal appeals court has overturned a Board of Immigration Appeals order to deport a 30-year old Jamaican homosexual man after he was convicted of sexual abuse and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor.

The three-judge Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel held that the U.S. is not entitled to deport Damion Nathanial Bromfield to his native Jamaica, despite his criminal convictions, because of the risk that he might be persecuted.

The U.S. Department of Justice argued that the Ninth Circuit has no jurisdiction over Bromfield's case because he was found removable on the basis of his conviction for an aggravated felony. But the panel cited the Ninth Circuit's own Ramadan v. Gonzales, 479 F.3d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 2007) (per curiam), to justify its intervention on behalf of the foreign man.

The appellate panel's order "will require the (Immigration Judge) to consider the Jamaican law criminalizing homosexual conduct and the frequency with which that law is enforced," in adjudicating his removal, and the removal of any future homosexual criminal who expresses a similar fear of persecution in his homeland.

Circuit Judge Betty B. Fletcher wrote the opinion. Circuit Judge Richard A. Paez also sat on the panel, along with a federal district judge for the Northern District of California, William W. Schwarzer, sitting "by designation."

The full text of the opinion is at

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