Maricar Camaya petitioned the Assistant Field Office Director, ERO San Diego, urging the official to let Joseph Bukombe, a Ugandan citizen and an active member of the LGBT community, stay in the US until Uganda is safe for LGBT people. The petition was supported by 230 signatures, and won.
From Maricar Camaya: "It has been a three year process for Joseph Bukombe to receive relief. However, Mr. Bukombe was recently able to receive pro-bono legal services through JSS Legal, a San Diego based law-firm. Together, he worked with his new legal counsel and two advocates to gather evidence and community support (through spaces like Change.org) for his immigration case. After three unsuccessful appeals to his case, two Change.org petitions and more, Mr. Bukombe was finally granted deferred action status (a two year stay that is renewable) on November 7, 2012."
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