ICE Allegedly Defied Judge's Order In Keeping LGBT Asylum Seeker Detained

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Darwin Garcia Portillo remains in ICE custody after legally seeking asylum at the U.S. border in California in March.

The attorney and sponsor family of an LGBT asylum seeker from Honduras have claimed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are detaining the man in defiance of a federal judge’s ruling, according to Newsweek.

Darwin Garcia Portillo presented himself lawfully at the border near San Diego, California, in March, along with his partner Oscar Juarez Hernandez and his younger brother. All three were detained.

The couple has said “their lives were threatened repeatedly in Honduras, and they sought asylum in the U.S. to escape persecution,” Newsweek reported.

Hernandez was granted asylum in September and released to a family in Colorado that legally requested to sponsor all three asylum seekers; however, Garcia Portillo remains in detention, after ICE refused him parole, claiming he was a “flight risk.”

Newsweek noted that also in September, “U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg banned ICE from making blanket decisions about the status of detainees, ruling that they must instead make determinations on a case-by-case basis.”

Garcia Portillo’s parole denial allegedly was issued by form letter, Newsweek reported, lacking any details specific to his case. His lawyer, David Bennion, suggested that ICE is intentionally ignoring the court’s legal authority in keeping his client detained.

The notion that Garcia Portillo is a flight risk is not substantiated, Bennion claims, particularly because he has a sponsor and his partner is already living the family.

Garcia Portillo’s brother also remains in federal custody, held in Texas by the Department of Health and Human Services. Bennion said that the boy has attempted suicide twice while in detention but because he is a minor, officials will not release him without a legal guardian.

Garcia Portillo is the boy’s only guardian. He is scheduled for a video conference regarding his asylum claim on November 7.

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