In a decision issued Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco says 37-year-old Dennis Vitug was harassed and threatened by police in his native Philippines for being a homosexual.
He moved to the U.S. in 1999 and overstayed a tourist visa while working in the Los Angeles area and studying fashion design.
Vitug became addicted to methamphetamine and was convicted of possession several times.
An immigration appeals panel had ordered him removed from the country over the drug convictions.
The court said Wednesday that Vitug was persecuted in the Philippines and ordered officials to withhold his removal.
From the Associated Press