El Salvador man not a refugee: US court
An El Salvador man has been denied refugee status by a US court as the man could not be believed. The man, Juan Mercedes Cruz, relied on a fear of persecution as a refugee due to his sexual orientation as the basis of his refugee application, but fatally wounded his own case when he told the court that he had been attacked due to his sexual orientation and did not know the identity of his attackers. The only problem with that evidence was that Cruz had said in his asylum application that he had been attacked by members of the MS-13 gang. When the immigration judge pointed out what Cruz had said in his application, Cruz changed his story again to say that he did recall the identities of the attackers, namely members of the MS-13 gang and that he feared that they would attack him if he returned to El Salvador due to his sexual orientation.
In the case, called Cruz v US Attorney-General, Mr Cruz’s credibility slid further when he stated that “he only feared gangs because he believed that they would steal from him and attempt to recruit him if he returned to El Salvador”, not because he feared that they would beat him up to due to sexual orientation.
The immigration judge and two appeal courts rejected Mr Cruz’s claim due to a lack of credibility.
This approach is consistent with that in Australia– to succeed on claiming refugee status due to sexual orientation, there needs to be clear evidence, and for the applicant to appear credible is vital.