7th Circuit Allows Bisexual Jamaican’s Torture Claim to Proceed but Denies Stay of Removal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has denied an alleged bisexual Jamaican man’s stay of removal but has allowed his pro se petition for review to proceed in forma pauperis, in Fuller v. Sessions, 2018 WL 316556, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 444 (7th Cir. January 8, 2018).

The court had previously denied a petition for review and affirmed the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruling that Petitioner’s prior conviction constituted a “particularly serious crime” rendering him ineligible for “withholding” of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act as well as the Convention Against Torture. The instant petition for review argued for eligibility for “deferral” of removal under the Convention Against Torture, a relief that is not barred by criminal activity. After Petitioner filed a motion with the BIA to reopen or reconsider its ruling, which was denied, he filed another notice of appeal (which the BIA considered a motion to reopen), arguing that he was “ignorant, unprepared, and unrepresented,” and submitted three letters in support of his claims from Jamaican individuals requesting “their names not be publicized because they fear that they will be targeted as sympathizers of gay people and be harmed.” The Board found Petitioner had not credibly shown that he was bisexual or that the Jamaican government would “regard him as such,” denied the motion as time- and number-barred, and further found that Petitioner “failed to demonstrate circumstances so exceptional that they warranted the use of the Board’s sua sponte power to revisit a case.” A petition for review was filed as well as two interim motions: 1) requesting a stay of removal; and 2) requesting the petition to be permitted to proceed in forma pauperis.

(By Bryan Johnson-Xenitelis)


For the full story, access the February 2018 issue of LGBT Law Notes