The following is an excerpt from a letter sent from inside an immigration detention center in Arizona. Marco has spent 6 years in immigration detention. Up until this point he has not had the opportunity to be released on bond. Now, after 6 years, he has finally been cleared for release on bond, but he remains detained only because he lacks the funds. Marco currently has $2430 out of $10,000 raised. To donate please make checks out to “Restoration Project, Florence” with “Marco’s Bond” in the memo line and mail to:
Rainbow Defense Fund
c/o Restoration Project, Florence
340 S. 3rd Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701
Here is the letter:
“My name is Marco. I am a native and citizen of Brazil. I was born in San Paulo, Brazil. I am submitting the following declaration to seek asylum based on my fear that, because I am a gay man, I will be beaten, tortured, or killed if I return to Brazil. I am a gay man who has suffered greatly in Brazil. My father is a powerful man who seeks to kill me because I am gay. My father is a member of the Brazilian military and has connections with the security forces. He seeks to suppress my sexuality and force me to live a life that is not truthful to my identity. The government of Brazil will not stop him. If returned to Brazil, I fear further persecution and possibly death on the hands of the security forces because I am not openly gay and do not repress my sexuality as required by these groups.
My persecution because of my sexual orientation started when I was a little boy when my father started to mistreat me. Although I did not know what a gay person was, I felt and acted differently from other boys. In school, other students made fun of me and called me a ‘fag.’ When I told my father, he beat me until I fell unconscious. When I woke up, I found myself locked down in a basement room. I was not allowed to come out of the room. I was trapped. My father ‘released’ me only after I promised not to dishonor him again.
My father’s abuse against me for being gay was constant. One time, when I was a teenager, my father wanted to teach me a lesson to keep me from being gay. My father put an instrument in his hand, sodomized me, and cut me in the anus.
Between the ages of 17 and 22, my persecution worsened. I tried to become more comfortable with who I was by making gay friends and living in a gay community. This turned out to be impossible. Some of my gay friends disappeared. I was beaten and harassed by the police and by my father. My father even threatened to kill me if I continued to be gay.”
Marco father killed his male lover forced Marco into a heterosexual marriage. He came to the United States in 1996 on a 6 month visa, which he overstayed in fear of returning to Brazil. He navigated the immigration detention system for years without a lawyer and has languished in detention. He is seeking asylum, but at his last hearing was not granted it, which he believes is because there was a gay pride parade in Brazil. He writes:
“At my hearing, the judge kept asking me about the gay pride celebration in Brazil. He kept saying that there were one million people there. I did not fully understand the question. But there is no doubt in my mind that a public celebration in one city once a year cannot protect me from my father, father-in-law, and police corruption. My father wants to kill me because I can no longer conform to heterosexuality. The Brazilian government will not protect me.”