The nightmare unfolded over the Christmas holiday.
Carlos Bringas-Rodriguez is a gay Mexican immigrant who sought, and was granted asylum in the United States. He was deported over the holiday even though there was a court order issued to keep him stateside.
He was returned to the U.S. on Tuesday; nearly a month later. Bringas-Rodrigue is also HIV positive and was deported on December 22, he was left at the border with a limited amount of HIV medications.
He had been cleared to stay in the United States by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March because of his sexual orientation, but the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ignored that order.
That's because The Department of Homeland Security said he missed a court appearance for asylum, Bringas-Rodriguez says he never got any notifications for such an appearance.
He was removed from his spouse Michael Young’s home where they care for his 12-year-old cousin.
An order from Ninth Circuit last Thursday instructed Homeland Security to return Bringas-Rodriguez to the United States, “through the Port of Entry at San Ysidro, California, no later than January 16, 2018.”
He was relieved to have the entire ordeal over he told The Blade just before coming home.
“I have mixed emotions right now,” Bringas-Rodriguez said. “I am still very traumatized and shaken up from being deported and separated from my family. But I am of course relieved that this nightmare will soon be over and cannot wait to be reunited with my husband and our niece who is like my daughter.”
His husband who is also a physician expressed frustration that his spouse was taken from his family three days before Christmas.
“My husband has been fighting his case for over six years and has cooperated with immigration authorities throughout,” Young said. “As his husband, I am suffering because I do not know when we will be reunited; as a physician, I am terrified that his unlawful deportation will have irreparable consequences to his health. I am just relieved that the Ninth Circuit recognized the wrong done here and has ordered the government to return my husband to me.”
Bringas-Rodriguez is represented by attorney Munmeeth Soni who is appalled by how his client was treated, calling it “cruel,” “inhumane,” and “outrageous.”
Escaping Mexico in 2010 for persecution because he’s gay, Bringas-Rodriguez has been fighting his asylum case ever since. Had he not been allowed to return to the United States, he would have faced even more abuse.
“There’s even more of a likelihood that it would be at the hand of strangers,” Soni said. “It could be at the hands of the police, or the military, and I think…because of his HIV condition, he definitely faces significant risk of being killed.”
In 2013 Munmeeth Soni stepped in to help Bringas-Rodriguez who up until that time was representing himself. He got the court to rehear the case and approve asylum.
Then in 2014, Bringas-Rodriguez moved from San Diego to be with his now-husband Young in Kansas, but was under constant supervision by ICE and Homeland Security.
However, in June 2017 at a meeting with ICE he was told the next one wouldn't be until December, but allegedly they changed that date to August but failed to tell Bringas-Rodriguez.
He did not show up which resulted in a deportation order.
Upon hearing that Bringas-Rodriguez had been deported, social media swung into action in an attempt to get him back home.
The CEO and President of Housing Works Inc Carlos King posted, "Bringas is now in Mexico, hiding in a hotel with only a rapidly dwindling supply of his HIV medications. Bringas came to the US as a teenager after having experienced years of sexual abuse at the hands of relatives and a neighbor who abused him because of his sexual orientation and threatened to kill him if he reported the abuse."
King encouraged people to contact Homeland Security in protest.
Now that Bringas-Rodriguez is back, where the case continues from here is still up in the air; they may sue for damages.
As for who is to blame for the situation, Soni thinks the current political cabinet had something to do with it, especially with their views on immigration.
“I’d like to think that they wouldn’t have done that under the prior administration, but that under this administration, given the tenor of both Trump as well as [U.S. Attorney General Jeff] Sessions against immigrants, irrespective of whether they’re here lawfully or not, or who they are, or what they’ve done for the communities, the bottom line is to deport them,” he said.
Soni adds, “To a certain degree, DHS and DOJ thought they could get away with this, that they would not be held to task."