On July 24, 2002, Jorge Soto Vega filed for asylum based on persecution he suffered in Mexico because of his sexual orientation. As a child in Mexico, Soto Vega suffered abuse, harassment, and ridicule from family members and classmates because he was perceived to be gay.
As a teenager, Soto Vega was severely beaten by officers of the Mexican police force upon suspicion that he was gay. The officers yelled derogatory slurs at Soto Vega as they threatened to kill him in order to “rid the streets of fags.”
An immigration judge denied Soto Vega’s application for asylum, based on the judge’s view that Sota Vega does not “look gay.” The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the immigration judge’s ruling.
Lambda Legal filed a petition for review of the Board’s denial with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. NCLR and the ACLU filed an amicus brief on his behalf. On June 2, 2006, the Court granted the petition for review and remanded the case to the Board in order to allow the agency to determine, based on the credible demonstration of past persecution, whether the government has rebutted the presumption of Soto Vega’s well founded fear of future persecution. On January 30, 2007, the Board granted Mr. Vega’s application.