A growing number of asylum seekers are using U.S. immigration courts to argue that their sexual orientation makes it too dangerous for them to return home.
Victoria Neilson, an attorney for the New York-based Immigration Equality, said the nonprofit group successfully won 55 asylum cases last year using sexual orientation as grounds, a record for the organization. That's a jump from 2007 when the group won 30 cases.
The exact number nationally is unknown since U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn't keep data on those asylum cases.
Nathaniel Cunningham, a 32-year-old gay Jamaican man now living in Worcester, recently won his case after describing the violence he faced in Jamaica.
Since 1994, sexual orientation has been grounds for asylum in the U.S.