Immigrant rights, LGBTQ activists fight deportation of gay immigrant

Ann Arbor, Mich. — “Free Hugo Now!” was the loud and clear message from a multinational demonstration of nearly 100 immigrant rights, LGBTQ, student, peace and community activists here in downtown Ann Arbor on Nov. 3. Hugo Gallardo Petatán is a Mexican immigrant who, as a gay man, experienced torture as a teenager. He received death threats from his father, bigots threatened to kill him and he is, according to supporters, “permanently scarred” by his experience.

Hugo was arrested on a minor charge after a scuffle in a bar last year. He has been held in the Monroe County Jail for over ten months and could be deported — and subject to further torture — in a matter of days. Hugo’s devoted partner, Tim Hunter, is leading the fight to have Hugo released and granted the right to remain in Michigan with him.

The rally and march were called by Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights and the Detroit-based immigrant rights group, One Michigan. The theme, tied to the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday, was “Death to Deportation.”

Protests against the forced separation of same sex couples by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where one of them is undocumented, have become an important part of the struggle for legalization as well as the struggle for LGBTQ equality.

Hugo’s supporters are asking people to call ICE at 202-732-3000, ask for John Morton and state that Hugo Gallardo Petatán (A#200-299-394), at Monroe County Jail in Michigan, has been in the U.S. for six years, fears returning to his home country, is considered a low priority case and should be released.

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