Gang rape prompts gay Guatemalan to seek asylum in U.S.

Central AmericaOn Dec 23, 2014 Washington Blade reported: A gay Guatemalan immigrant who recently moved to D.C. said he fled his homeland earlier this year after he was gang raped because of his sexual orientation.

Milton Amezquita-Guzman, 27, told the Washington Blade last week during a telephone interview that men he described as gang members in the city of Quetzaltenango where he sold clothing and other items in March extorted money from him because he is gay. Amezquita-Guzman said the men called him a “faggot piece of shit” and a “whore” before they forced him to perform oral sex on them.

“They took me by force and one of them came up to me,” he told the Blade as he became emotional. “He stuck his penis inside of me and he shouted ‘you are a whore. I will kill you.’”

Amezquita-Guzman said he had been raped twice before prior to the March incident. He fled Guatemala in March while in disguise shortly after the third alleged sexual assault took place.

He traveled through Mexico before passing through Ciudad Miguel Alemán in the state of Tamaulipas and crossing the Rio Grande into Texas.

Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Amezquita-Guzman in May. They sent him to a privately run detention facility in Georgia operated by Corrections Corporation of America from where he pursued his asylum claim.

“He could have been released on bond, and he wasn’t,” Amezquita-Guzman’s lawyer, Patrick Valdez, told the Blade as his client listened. “My client’s not a danger. He doesn’t have a record in his country or in this country. His record is impeccable. And he had a legitimate asylum application and he had to litigate his case in custody the whole time. That was unfortunate.”

Amezquita-Guzman told the Blade that he experienced additional mistreatment and discrimination while at the Georgia detention facility that included personnel not allowing his lawyer to visit him. Amezquita-Guzman said the conservative judge who handled his case did not adequately respond to his complaints.

“He said OK, there is no problem,” Amezquita-Guzman told the Blade. “It is that we have no control over Corrections Corporation of America. We do not control this.”

Valdez told the Blade that his client while in ICE custody also did not receive psychological treatment in the aftermath of the sexual assault he experienced. He said detainees who seek such care are “immediately suspect.”

“It’s assumed that the inmate is not telling the truth or is exaggerating,” Valdez told the Blade, noting ICE facilities often lack adequate resources. “There’s no way to complain. There’s no regulatory mechanism to manage these kinds of challenges that these detention centers have.”

Sexual violence common among gay migrants

Amezquita-Guzman spoke with the Blade less than a month after President Obama announced an executive order on immigration that would, among other things, allow an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S.

Valdez told the Blade he has worked with other gay asylum seekers from Latin America who have experienced sexual exploitation and other abuses.


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