Sumaila v. Attorney General United States, No. 18-1342 (3d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Sumaila was born in Accra, Ghana. At age 26, when his sexual orientation became known, Sumaila was attacked by his father and his neighbors. He went into hiding and eventually entered the United States without authorization. Sumaila sought asylum and withholding of removal and protection from removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) because he fears being persecuted or tortured on account of his sexual orientation if returned to Ghana. Ghana criminalizes same-sex relationships and has no track record of combatting widespread anti-gay violence, harassment, and discrimination. While finding Sumaila credible, the Immigration Judge ordered his removal. The BIA affirmed.
The Third Circuit vacated the denial of relief. Sumaila has demonstrated that he was targeted on account of his membership in a statutorily protected group; the attack and death threats Sumaila suffered were serious enough to rise to the level of persecution. He is entitled to a rebuttable presumption of a “well-founded fear of future persecution.” Sumaila also demonstrated that his experience was not a random or isolated act of private violence, but part of a pattern or practice of persecution against the LGBTI community in Ghana more generally.