Confirmed victory
Petitioning Assistant Field Office Director, ERO San Diego Kenneth C. Smith

Let Joseph Bukombe Stay in the U.S. until Uganda Is Safe for LGBT People

Joseph Bukombe is a Ugandan citizen and an active member of the LGBT community. He left his home in Uganda after experiencing and witnessing violence and persecution towards gay people there. He is seeking to temporarily stay in the U.S. until conditions in his country are safe enough for his return.

LGBT people in Uganda have regularly been attacked and/or imprisoned when they openly express their sexuality, and the Ugandan Parliament has resubmitted the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a proposal to further criminalize same-sex relations. The risk to Joseph's safety and well-being, in particular, has grown after his story received significant attention from the media, disclosing his sexuality to people in Uganda.

After a two year stay in detention, Joseph was able to leave and post bail last December due, in large part, to his wonderful supporters at Change.org. He currently lives in San Diego and has volunteered his time speaking about the conditions for LGBT people in Uganda in hopes that increased awareness will improve the situation.

However, he is now subject to immediate removal from the United States as of October 1, 2012, when his final appeal was denied. Although he has appealed his case three times, he did so without the help of an attorney and his attempts were unsuccessful. He is now seeking, with the help of new pro bono legal counsel, a temporary stay from deportation called “deferred action status”, which is renewable every two years. This is a discretionary action that only the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency can grant. Joseph is requesting ICE to exercise its discretion on his behalf, because he faces immediate and life-threatening danger should he be removed from the United States and deported to Uganda.

We ask for your continued support towards Joseph's safety. Please take a moment and sign this petition requesting that ICE grant him deferred action status. Thank you.

Photo Credit: Rosa Ramirez for New America Media

Letter to
Assistant Field Office Director, ERO San Diego Kenneth C. Smith
I am writing in support of Joseph Bukombe's request for deferred action status. Mr. Bukombe is a Ugandan citizen and an active member of the LGBT community. Sadly, Uganda is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for gay people, and Joseph faces a high risk of being severely persecuted on account of being gay should he be forced to return to his home country.

LGBT people in Uganda have regularly been attacked and/or imprisoned, when they openly express their sexuality, and the Ugandan Parliament has resubmitted the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a proposal to further criminalize same-sex relations. The risk to Joseph's safety and well-being, in particular, has grown after his story received significant attention from the media, disclosing his sexuality to people in Uganda.

Mr. Bukombe is subject to a final order of removal, because the judge in his case did not believe that he was gay. Although Mr. Bukombe tried to appeal his case three times (twice to the Board of Immigration Appeals and once to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), he did so without the help of an attorney and his attempts to appeal the decision were unsuccessful.

Mr. Bukombe became subject to immediate removal from the United States on October 1, 2012, when his final appeal was dismissed.  He is now seeking, with the help of new pro bono counsel, deferred action status.  Mr. Bukombe is asking ICE to exercise its discretion on his behalf, because he faces immediate and life-threatening danger should he be removed from the United States and deported to Uganda.

I respectfully request that ICE grant him deferred action status so that he may remain safe from harm, at least for the short term, and pursue his legal remedies with the help of his new pro bono counsel. Thank you.