Gay Ugandan Man Freed from San Diego Detention Facility for Two Years Now Faces Deprtation Threat

A Ugandan man detained by immigration officials for almost two years has been freed on bail but now faces deportation hearings, 10 News reports:

BukombeFor Bukombe, who is a musician, it was a dream born from a nightmare. Eight years ago, he arrived in San Diego from Uganda. He said his work visa expired several years ago. During his time in San Diego, Bukombe came out as a gay man but was afraid to go home. Fueled by religious forces, Uganda had been considering a law that would have imposed the death penalty for certain homosexual acts. During that time, a mob beat one of Bukombe's friends to death. 'I didn't want to die. I didn't want to go back and die,' Bukombe said. In early 2010, Bukombe was stopped for a DUI after eating Jell-O at a birthday party.

Bukombe was then detained by immigration officials:

He hired an attorney, but could not pay for him. After languishing for several years, Bukombe discovered a $20,000 bail had been set early in the process. Hector Martinez, a friend of a friend, started a campaign supporting Bukombe, including a petition drive. 'We think either paperwork got sent to the wrong address or the attorney never informed him,' said Martinez. Martinez raised $6,000 and took out a loan for the remainder of the bail.

However, Bukombe still faces deportation hearings.

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reports: "Now that Bukombe is free, he must complete the terms of his bail. Martinez and Ogle said that Bukombe's former boss would rehire him after his release, and he has a number of friends in San Diego who have promised to look out for him. The next legal step to fight deportation is an an appeal, and Bukombe's supporters are hopeful because of the Obama Administration's new policy toward LGBT immigrants who face persecution or the threat of death in their homeland."


  1. Kendall says

    If eating Jello at a party is probable cause for a DUI stop, perhaps we need to curb police authority to stop anyone for any reason just because MADD wants it. I miss the Fourth Amendment.

  2. Tim says

    Hmm, as much as I feel for him and his plight, could he not have renewed his visa before it expired? I doubt he was stopped because he ate the Jell-o, more like he did something to alert the police to his driving?

    I live in a country other than where I was born. I know EXACTLY where and when I need to be on each visa renewal to be sure I can stay and am overly cautious about breaking any laws. And I’m not even facing penalties like his. We all need to take responsibility for our actions and our futures.

  3. ESA says

    I’m pretty sure they meant Jell-O shots that would have been made with grain alcohol. However, Tim makes an excellent point. I hope for the best for Mr. Bukombe, but I also certainly hope that in the future, he will take better care of himself and his welfare. The timing of his case could very well be a blessing in disguise.

  4. sugarrhill says

    Black men are stopped for just being black all the time regardless of whether they’ve done something wrong. To the commenters above, your white privilege is showing.

  5. Chris says

    My partner just received his green card. Despite the fact that he has highly-desirable skills and has been in status since he arrived almost ten years ago, his/our journey to permanent residency was a nerve-wracking one. The US immigration bureaucracy is opaque, arbitrary, fickle, often incompetent, structurally racist, and heterosexist by law.

    I have nothing but sympathy for this guy. A Ugandan musician without the money for a lawyer and USCIS fees — thousands of dollars, folks — has the chips stacked against him.

  6. Patric says

    I’m disturbed by the lack of compassion for this guy. He presumably didn’t renew his visa because he concluded that it wouldn’t be renewed and, like many others, stayed on without documents rather than, in his case, return to a country where homophobia is so rampant that a friend of his had just been killed. While we struggle in this country to achieve marriage equality, we should never forget that the challenges faced by our brothers and sisters in so many parts of the world are so much greater. I agree that he never should have allowed himself to be in a position where he might be stopped for a DUI but we need to stand with this man now.

  7. Adam says

    Screw the comments about “white privilege” and lack of “compassion” for this man.

    If he followed the rules, renewed his visa, and did everything he what supposed to, he wouldn’t be in this situation.

    Have a some f_cking personal responsibility, people.

  8. LJames says

    “Stopped for a DUI after eating Jello.” Um, try Jello SHOTS. Many Jello shots.

    I’d like to know how much this person has cost us taxpayers? The arrest, his INS proceedings, etc. This guy has probably cost us thousands of dollars.

    If you haven’t noticed yet, our economy is in the crapper. Sorry, but his music skills are not that valuable to me as a taxpayer.

  9. Chris says

    Wow, when did this become a GOProud forum?

    At the risk of troll-feeding:

    @Adam: If you think that “following the rules” to renew a work visa is a cake walk (and is always possible, or cheap), then you do not know much about the US immigration system. Go educate yourself before lecturing us about personal responsibility.

    @LJames: If this guy’s costs to taxpayers (you hold the costs of his prosecution against him? really?) and skill sets are the criteria by which you decide whether to save this guy from persecution on the basis of sexuality, well… it’s a sad failure not just of compassion but imagination. It could have been you…

  10. Tim says

    Sugarrhil: you have no idea what colour my skin is and assuming I’m any colour from my post is as racist as what you attribute to me. Not trying to be combative, but think twice before making those comments.

Leave A Reply