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This bisexual Russian man could be killed if he’s deported — but an Oregon judge won’t let him stay

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After traveling through multiple countries to get to the United States and avoid persecution, a bisexual Russian man waited in immigration detainment for months — only to be denied asylum by an Oregon judge.

The Portland Mercury reported that after being threatened by police in the Russian North Caucasus region, near the border of the notoriously anti-gay Chechnya, Dmitri (a pseudonym to protect his identity) decided to flee to the US in spite of knowing neither English nor any people in the states.

“Most asylum seekers fly to the United States on a tourist visa and then, once they arrive, request asylum,” reporter Katie Herzog wrote. “But Dmitri had applied for a tourist visa four times before, and each time his application was rejected.”

Instead, Dmitri “took the long way,” flying from Moscow to France, Cuba and finally Tijuana, Mexico, where he surrendered himself to authorities who detained him. In the past, most asylum-seekers were granted a bond hearing every six months, but in February, Herzog noted, the Supreme Court reversed the decision that gave that entitlement. Asylum-seekers can now be held indefinitely while awaiting hearings, “even if they haven’t committed a crime.”

“The implications of this policy are playing out most visibly on the southern border” with Donald Trump’s family separation policy. In Dmitri’s case, however, it led to him being sent to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington — a place he’d never heard of prior to surrendering to agents at Tijuana.

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Herzog noted that although only 37 percent of immigrants nationwide have attorneys due to their cases taking place in civil (rather than criminal) court, Dmitri got lucky and found a lawyer “through fellow detainees at the prison.” He spent five months at the Northwest Detention Center before his hearing, where Portland-based Judge Richard Zanfardino teleconferenced in to preside over his case.

In most cases, the report noted, queer and transgender Russians are able to get asylum in the US because judges “understand that being LGBTQ could get you murdered in Russia.” Zanfardino, however, did not agree with that general consensus and argued that it’s not illegal to engage in homosexual activity in Russia.

Russian law, the judge wrote in his decision, “does not criminalize an individual for being homosexual but instead criminalizes speech considered pro-LGBTI” — leaving out that it is illegal to be out of the closet in the country. Herzog wrote that Zanfardino also denied the claim because Dmitri “also denied the claim because Dmitri had secretly dated men in the past without suffering physical harm.”

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Kimahli Powell, the director of the Rainbow Road organization that helps queer and trans people get to safety around the world, said Zanfardino is “is basically condemning [Dmitri] to violence” with the ruling.

The bisexual Russian’s lawyer plans to appeal the claim, a process that could take between six months to a year. When and if that appeal is denied (which is likely, Herzog wrote), the attorney will then take the case to federal court.

In the meantime, Dmitri will remain in a prison where he said he is very cold, playing cards and learning English.


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Trump tweets deranged rant about Mueller and the FBI as hearing draws nearer

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On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted an angry invective against former special counsel Robert Mueller, who is slated to testify before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on Wednesday, proclaiming once again — falsely — that the report showed "NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!"

He followed up this outburst with complaints about a litany of villains frequently promoted by Fox News, including the Hillary Clinton campaign and two former FBI agents who were fired after having a affair and who supposedly were biased against him in text messages (though no evidence has ever shown they improperly influenced Mueller's investigation):

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Trump busted for lying about not having ‘talking points’ about Dem congresswomen

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President Donald Trump furiously denied reporting that his aides had supplied him with "reams of opposition research" about four Democratic congresswomen.

The president has been lobbing racist attacks at the first-year lawmakers since last weekend, and the Washington Post reported that aides had supplied the background research to urge Trump to question their patriotism and political ideas, rather than calling on them to leave the country.

"The Amazon Washington Post front page story yesterday was total Fake News," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "They said 'Advisors wrote new talking points and handed him reams of opposition research on the four Congresswomen.'"

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Marco Rubio brutally shamed by hometown newspaper for ‘pathetic’ response to Trump’s racism

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is getting raked over the coals by his hometown newspaper.

In a scathing editorial published this week, the Miami Herald called out Rubio for his "pathetic" response to Trump's racist attacks on four Democratic lawmakers.

The editorial argues that Rubio had once promised to be a check on Trump's worst excesses -- but he's instead been a consistent "sycophant" who has regularly debased himself to gain Trump's approval.

"He has transformed from Trump critic to a sycophantic cheerleader -- derided by former adviser and Washington Post columnist Max Boot as a 'Trump fan-boy' -- to the point that he’s willing to kill Obamacare even though his own state leads the nation in enrollment," the editorial argues.

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