A gay, HIV-positive man has been sitting inside an ICE detention center for over a month, despite having filed for political asylum.
30-year-old Denis Davydov arrived in the United States from Russia legally in 2014. He overstayed his six-month tourist visa but applied for political asylum within the one-year deadline, citing the the peril LGBTQ people currently face in his homeland.
“He was awaiting his asylum interview, had a valid employment authorization and A-number, and had no criminal record,” Sergey Piskunov, who works with RUSA LGBT, a group for Russian-speaking members of the LGBTQ community, says.
Last month, Davydov was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Miami on his way back from a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since then, he has been kept at the Krome Detention Center. He is the first known HIV-positive gay asylum-seeker being detained under the Trump Administration’s Draconian immigration policies.
“He’s a gay man and HIV-positive,” Piskunov says. “Russia is not the best place for either of those and he’s a combination of both.”
Piskunov says Davydov has been receiving his HIV medications in detention, but he has not been given access to a doctor.
“This is one of the reasons we really want to get him out of there,” Piskunov urges, adding that Davydov has “developed a fungal infection (possibly thrush) and has not been able to receive medication for it.”
He also faces harassment and homophobic slurs from other detainees.
“They have money for war in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria,” Piskunov says. “They have money for all these military expenses. But they don’t have money for the medical system. And they don’t care.”
A Facebook page has been launched, providing regular updates on his condition and details on his bond hearing, which is scheduled for May 8.