Chechnya’s current attack on the gay community is quickly turning into a global security issue with citizens being harassed, threatened, and even killed. It brings to light concerns of individuals seeking asylum, particularly folks here in the United States who are seeking the safety and security that asylum offers as reported by The Advocate’s Yezmin Villarreal. Denis Davydov, from Magnitogorsk, Russia is one of those individuals. He came to the US in September 2014 on a six month tourist visa. Before being detained, he was living and working in San Jose, California. Davydov went on a weeklong vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands on March 6, 2017 and was unexpectedly detained at the Krome Service Processing Center in Miami, Florida upon his return on March the 13th and has been there ever since.
What makes Denis Davydov’s case special is that he is an HIV-positive gay man — the first HIV positive gay asylum seeker. He is also a member of the RUSA LGBT rights group. According to folks at RUSA, his health is at risk being detained for this amount of time and he is also at risk of harassment and violence. Since He has complied with all of USCIS guidelines, has a valid employment number, and no criminal record there should be no reason for him to be detained so long. In the statement that RUSA published, there is still no set court date for Davydov’s asylum case.
The Russian parliament — the Duma, passed anti-LGBT law in 2013. Since then, Russia’s LGBT community has faced physical and emotional threats, have endured acts of violence from extremists, and members of the DUMA have engaged in violence and put various plans of action in order to relinquish rights of the LGBT community.
One troubling fact is that Davydov’s has been following the rules. His six month visa expired. As is standard procedure, he waited two months before applying for asylum. Any person seeking asylum is to wait for their visa to expire and then bring their case forward. During the times that their visa are expired, they are considered undocumented. But this is supposed to be forgiven (or overlooked) once they apply for asylum. Denis Davydov followed procedure, still hasn’t been granted asylum, and now his health is at great risk. However, Trump’s ICE officials say that he is being detained because he violated his visa. It seems that they don’t know their own rules and regulations. Denis Davydov cannot return to his home country and be sure of his safety. Showing support to Denis can be done by going to the Free Denis Davydov Facebook page, RUSA LGBT, and the Immigration Equality organization.