Protestors: Gay man facing deportation to Mexico after Ann Arbor arrest

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    Aug 28, 2012 12:25 AM GMT
    http://www.freep.com/article/20120827/NEWS01/120827070

    Tim Hunter stood outside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Detroit this afternoon, protesting the pending deportation of his partner.

    Hugo Gallardo Petatan, 24, is a 24-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, arrested after a night of drunken partying in Ann Arbor in October. He’s been in I.C.E. custody since then, pending deportation.

    In Hunter’s eyes, Petatan is a gay man facing scorn and possibly physical violence if he’s forced to return to his native Guerrero, in a remote area of southern Mexico.

    Hunter was joined during an hour-long protest today by about 10 others from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Latino communities.

    Hunter, who turns 44 Tuesday, and the rest of the group marched around I.C.E.’s offices on Jefferson at Mt. Elliott with signs. Hunter’s sign read, "Free Hugo Petatan Now," with Petatan’s I.C.E. number at the bottom.

    “I’m doing everything in my power to get him relief,” said Hunter, of Ypsilanti, a driver and general assistant at an Ann Arbor traumatic brain injury rehabilitation facility. “I’ve been fighting it every inch of the way.”

    I.C.E. spokesman Khaalid Walls said the agency will have a statement by 4 p.m.

    Hunter said Petatan was physically attacked as a teen and shunned by his family because he is gay. Petatan paid to have someone smuggle him across the U.S.-Mexico border about seven years ago, according to Hunter.

    An aspiring chef, he worked in restaurants. The pair met online in June 2011, leading Petatan to move to southeast Michigan from North Carolina.
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    Aug 28, 2012 12:34 AM GMT
    Wow. I think he's gonna have a tough time staying in the US.
  • greyarbiter

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    Aug 28, 2012 7:17 AM GMT
    Why was he involved in drunken partying as an illegal at all? It's bad enough that legal residents and US Citizens do this all the time.

    It's very sad to hear that he is getting deported and deported to a hostile environment, but I don't understand why, if the stakes were that high, he didn't play it safer.

    I'm really struggling to feel sympathetic. Am I missing something?

    Edit: And sure, same-sex couples have problems manifest in immigration due to bans on same-sex marriage recognition on a federal level. If this was a DUI/DWI, it could be a crime of moral turpitude which would get immigration involved anyway. A lot of people with DWI convictions get deported.
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    Aug 28, 2012 9:33 AM GMT
    Looks like a slam-dunk case. His illegal status is the problem for the ICE, not his being gay. And since Mexico is more legally friendly to gays than the US, I don't think an application for asylum based on gay persecution will work.
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    Aug 28, 2012 9:48 AM GMT
    If he were in Arizona, this case would've already been closed and he'd already be back in Mexico.
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    Aug 28, 2012 9:55 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidIf he were in Arizona, this case would've already been closed and he'd already be back in Mexico.

    Speaking of which, when is Arizona deporting you back to Florida? icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 28, 2012 10:03 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    paulflexes saidIf he were in Arizona, this case would've already been closed and he'd already be back in Mexico.

    Speaking of which, when is Arizona deporting you back to Florida? icon_biggrin.gif
    Next week, though I still don't know whether I'm flying the plane back (3 day trip) or taking the airlines. It would be nice if they wouldn't keep me in limbo till the last minute. icon_confused.gif
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    Aug 28, 2012 10:14 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Art_Deco said
    paulflexes saidIf he were in Arizona, this case would've already been closed and he'd already be back in Mexico.

    Speaking of which, when is Arizona deporting you back to Florida? icon_biggrin.gif
    Next week, though I still don't know whether I'm flying the plane back (3 day trip) or taking the airlines. It would be nice if they wouldn't keep me in limbo till the last minute. icon_confused.gif

    How does the plane get back if you don't fly it? That must be a real ordeal to fly over such a long distance, in the air all day long. How often do you need to stop for fuel?