A San Jose man who is gay and HIV-positive has been detained at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Florida for more than a month since returning from a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Denis Davydov, 30, arrived in the U.S. legally in September 2014 and overstayed his visa. He has applied for political asylum, according to Sergey Piskunov with RUSA LGBT, a group for Russian-speaking members of the LGBT community.
"He's a gay man and HIV-positive," Piskunov said. "Russia is not the best place for either of those, and he's a combination of both."
Davydov was on his way home to the Bay Area in early March when he encountered federal agents in an airport, according to Piskunov.
"They checked his documents, and he said they were trying really hard to find something wrong," Piskunov said. "They put him on a plane to Miami and transported him to Florida."
Nestor Yglesias, a spokesman for ICE in Florida, confirmed Tuesday that Davydov was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and is currently in custody at the Krome Detention Center in Miami.
"They made the arrest," Yglesias said. "He's in our custody because they don't have detention space."
Yglesias referred further questions regarding Davydov's case to Customs and Border Protection.
After a request for information about exactly where and when Davydov was detained, as well as any deportation proceedings that may be taking place, CBP spokesman Keith Smith said he would look into the matter, but Department of Homeland Security privacy policies typically "preclude us from releasing information regarding individual travelers."
Davydov is receiving his HIV medications every day while in detention, but he needs to see a doctor and has been unable to access one, according to Piskunov. That claim could not be confirmed with federal agents.
"This is one of the reasons we really want to get him out of there," Piskunov said.
If he gets deported, however, Davydov could face dire circumstances and difficulty accessing health care in Russia.
"I believe he's not going to live too long," Piskunov said. "We have several friends in common who passed away because of HIV consequences."
"They have money for war in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria - they have money for all these military expenses but they don't have money for the medical system," Piskunov said. "And they don't care."