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Death by Deportation?

Death by Deportation?

A poz man’s deportation to Venezuela is temporarily suspended due to med shortages caused by the country’s ongoing economic crisis.

A recent case involving an HIV-positive man’s ordered deportation to Venezuela is helping to shed light on the harsh realities that are resulting from the country’s ongoing economic crisis.

After his story was reported on by both el Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald in February, Ricardo Querales’s court-ordered deportation to his native country of Venezuela was temporarily suspended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last Thursday.

The decision came shortly after the reports were published in the media — and after a letter from Querales’s doctor was submitted to the court which argued that his return to Venezuela would be the equivalent “of a death sentence.”

Plus has been following the country’s economic crisis as it has continued to evolve. Currently in Venezuela, people are facing shortages of food, housing, clean water—and life-saving medicines, including those for HIV. This is especially heart-wrenching because 20 years ago, the country boasted one of the most progressive national HIV programs in the world.

Here’s where Querales’s case gets controversial: He was granted political asylum in 2004, but that was revoked after his 2009 conviction and imprisonment on felony possession of a controlled substance, and two misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, reports the Miami Herald.

Public reaction has been very polarized amid recent debate over immigration and the Trump administration’s stance on it: Many said that the 43-year-old Miami hairstylists' troubles were of his own making, while others argued that a couple of non-violent drug charges shouldn’t essentially sentence a man to death, and the special circumstances of the case need to be considered.

The decision also came largely in part to Querales’s new lawyer, Marcial de Sautu, who said he plans on asking the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen the asylum case, based on the extreme living conditions that have been worsening for over a decade in the South American country.

“If the [asylum] case can be reopened, that means the deportation order no longer exists and we can present new evidence so that the immigration court can make a ruling,” said de Sautu, who specializes in Venezuelan asylum cases. “There are very strong arguments for not deporting him from this country, for humanitarian reasons.”

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