Bisexual Man from Jamaica Wins Withholding of Removal

July 7, 2017

 Cleary Gottlieb’s pro bono client Mr. M, a bisexual man from Jamaica, was granted withholding of removal on July 7, 2017.

Mr. M was forced to carry drugs into the United States by traffickers who used physical intimidation and threats to publicly reveal Mr. M.’s bisexuality in Jamaica as tools of coercion. Following his conviction on a drug trafficking charge in federal court in Brooklyn, Cleary agreed to represent Mr. M. in his immigration court removal proceedings.

Mr. M.’s drug trafficking conviction posed significant challenges to obtaining immigration relief. Because it was an aggravated felony, his conviction made him categorically ineligible for asylum. Further, under applicable precedent, drug trafficking is presumptively considered a “particularly serious crime,” which is a statutory bar to withholding of removal.

Cleary successfully argued to the Immigration Judge that a crime committed under coercion and duress should not be considered a “particularly serious crime,” leaving withholding of removal as a potential remedy. At the hearing, Cleary presented Mr. M’s testimony, as well as other fact and expert witnesses, to convince the court that Mr. M in fact had committed the crime under duress and that there was a clear probability that he would suffer persecution in Jamaica as a result of his sexual orientation if he were removed.