August 14, 2017

12 Transgender Women from Central America and Mexico Seek Asylum in US

Legal teams from around the country have mobilized to help.

Transgender Watch 12 transgender women and 5 gay males from Central America and Mexico ask for asylum at the U.S. Mexico border in Nogales. (PHOTO: Transgender Law Center)


Twelve transgender individuals from Central America and Mexico who asked for asylum last week in Nogales are now in the U.S. immigration system. They were accompanied by five gay males, also seeking asylum in the U.S.

At first they only had each other for support. As word spread that they were seeking asylum in the U.S., other supporters met them at the border.

The 12 transgender women and the five gay males fled different countries in Central America, claiming sexual and physical assaults. They met on their journey to seek asylum in the U.S.

Transgender March 2 March to support transgender and gay individuals seeking U.S. asylum from Mexico and Central America. (PHOTO: National Transgender Law Center)

Isa Noyola, from the Transgender Law Center, met the group at the border.

“They all have amazing and very incredible and torturous migration stories from leaving their countries and all the reasons why,” she said.

Noyola is the deputy director of the Transgender Law Center in Oakland. She said advocacy groups around the U.S. have formed a coalition to provide legal help for the transgender women seeking asylum.

“There’s a huge legal power. I would say that the experts on trans and LGBT immigration are at the forefront of these individuals.”

Customs and Border Protection would not comment on the individual cases, but released a statement saying, “CBP’s procedures are based on international law and focused on protecting vulnerable and persecuted persons.”

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