Stop Deportation of Refugee Fleeing Violent Homophobia


Goal: Stop deportation of gay Mexican refugee Hugo Gallardo Petatan

Target: John Morton, Director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Six years ago, Hugo Petatan came to the United States seeking refuge. In his hometown in Mexico, Petatan narrowly escaped being killed by his own family and local community members. At only 13, he had been caught and tortured by two older men who scorched his genitals when they suspected he was gay. Hugo could not count on his family to protect him from random street attacks – his father openly stated that if one of his sons were gay, he would easily kill him himself.

Now 24, Hugo sits in the Monroe County Jail in Michigan, awaiting deportation proceedings. He knows that if he is returned to Mexico he faces severe violence in his community, as he is now known as an openly gay man.

Hugo has loved ones here in the United States, including a partner who is eager to marry him. Hugo’s life in jail has also been mired with homophobia, and other prisoners regularly torment him and attack him for his sexuality. As a result of this in-jail bullying, Hugo has been transferred to a higher security area of prison. Although he is safer this way, he has less mobility, and is confined more severely. Hugo says he would love the chance to get out of jail and marry his boyfriend, and finally acquire a level of security in this country. He dreams of naturalizing and becoming a productive member of American society.

Hugo has been listed as a low-priority case, and has no criminal record prior to this instant. He has already served 10 months in the Monroe County Jail, and could be deported at any moment. Sign the letter below, and urge John Martin, Director of ICE, to allow Hugo Petatan refuge here in the United States from his deadly family and local community back home in Mexico.


Dear Mr. Morton,

Hugo Petatan has served over 10 months in the Monroe County Jail in Michigan. As you may know, he is an openly gay man, and he faced torture, abuse, and deadly force in his hometown in Mexico. As Hugo has lived here in the United States for the past six years, he has developed a sense of safety and met a long term American partner he wishes to stay with. If you send him back to Mexico, he will lose those things, and he will face a life of severe abuse and likely deadly force from his family and community members.

Hugo has no prior criminal history, and has shown that he is a law-abiding, hardworking immigrant the entire time he has been here. If you allow Hugo asylum in the United States, you will allow him to become a productive member of the American workforce, another regular taxpayer, and a strong citizen. If you deport him, you may be sentencing him to a life of unprovoked attacks, violence, and even death.

Please, we urge you to grant Hugo Petatan a stay, and allow him to marry his longterm partner. Hugo has a path to naturalization that is viable, and he has shown himself to be a peaceful refugee. Release Hugo from custody and prevent his unnecessary, immoral deportation immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Timothy Hunter via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    I hope Hugo is allowed to stay since he is trying to start a life here and has roots already planted. Deporting him back would be no less than a death sentence and a travesty of justice.

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