Asylum for LGBT People Facing Persecution

In a case held up due to scheduling backlogs in the U.S. Asylum Office, Jon-Marc LaRue Zitzkat ’15 and Joshua MacDonald ’15 prepared asylum filings for a gay man from El Salvador who faced near-constant abuse growing up in his home country.  He could not go out in public without people taunting, harassing, and assaulting him.  At age 17 he was raped, leaving him HIV-infected.  In 2012, when a close friend who was gay was beaten to death, he fled to the United States.  Once here, he struggled as an undocumented person battling AIDS.  In preparing his asylum application and supporting evidence and arguments, Josh and Jon-Marc had to make the case that extraordinary circumstances excused their client from the usual requirement of filing for asylum within a year after entering the U.S., as well as proving that he continues to face the risk of persecution in his home country due to his homosexuality and medical condition.  Jon-Marc, now a graduate in law practice, is continuing to represent the client pro bono.