7th Circuit Affirms Refusal to Reopen Asylum Case for Petitioner Claiming to be Homosexual

A panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled in Barragan-Ojeda v. Sessions, 2017 WL 1244892 (7th Cir. April 5, 2017), that the Petitioner’s assertion that he was homosexual and feared persecution if returned to Mexico did not satisfy the regulatory evidentiary requirements to warrant remanding his case for further consideration, and found that the prior ruling by an Immigration Judge (IJ) violated none of his due process rights.

Petitioner had been placed into removal proceedings immediately upon entering the United States without inspection. He was granted a continuance to find an attorney and present a case, and eventually sought asylum, pro se. He claimed past persecution to his family and that he also was persecuted at work because he was considered effeminate, but denied he was gay. The IJ denied his applications. After appealing the case having retained counsel, Petitioner then claimed that he was homosexual, and feared persecution in Mexico because of his sexual orientation. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) found that Petitioner’s request should have been formatted as a motion to remand the case for further consideration of new evidence, and ruled that under the appropriate legal framework, Petitioner’s request was not sufficient for remand because it did not establish that he was submitting previously-unavailable evidence.

For the full story, access the May 2017 issue of LGBT Law Notes.