Just read the news today that 27-year-old Brazilian Augusto Pereira de Souza has been granted legal asylum in the United States claiming persecution and harassment in his homeland because of his homosexuality.
Having lived in New York for several years, I do understand that people sometimes will do whatever they can to become legal residents of the US, but what I don't understand is how the US government let this one pass, and how Augusto Pereira de Souza's lawyers were able to make a case for granting legal asylum to someone who comes from the country with the biggest Gay Pride parade in the world. I am not saying by any means that Brazil is the most liberal country in the world when it comes to gay rights, but we are certainly not Iran or Uganda. And please correct me if I am wrong, but how much safer in terms of hate crimes is Augusto Pereira de Souza going to be in Newark as opposed to in São Paulo? As a gay man living in Brazil, I have to admit that at a certain level I am offended with the grounds on which Mr. de Souza was allowed to stay in the US.
In his defense, Mr. de Souza released an official statement: "I lived in constant panic in Brazil. I tried to hide that my homosexuality, but the attacks and threats were constant. At the time (I lived in Brazil), I have been attacked by skinheads and brutally beat up by the police. After you've been threatened by the police, you become aware that there is no one there to protect you, so coming the live in US was a matter of life or death for me." Because that sort of stuff never happens in the US, right?
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