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Landmark Supreme Court Decision Upholds Rights for Transgender Asylum Seekers

On May 11, 2023 the Supreme Court appealed a recent case that has given hope to transgender asylum seekers facing deportation. The ruling will make it easier for asylum seekers to challenge their removal orders in federal court, even if they did not fully challenge their removal before immigration authorities. This decision has the potential to impact the lives of many individuals seeking safety and refuge in the United States.

The Case of Leon Santos-Zacaria

The landmark decision comes in the case of Leon Santos-Zacaria, a transgender woman from Guatemala who was seeking asylum in the United States. Santos-Zacaria fled her home country due to persecution and violence she faced as a transgender woman. Despite this, she was denied asylum by the Board of Immigration Appeals and ordered to be deported. However, Santos-Zacaria appealed this decision and the Supreme Court has now granted her the right to seek asylum in the United States.


The Impact on Future Rights for Asylum Seekers

This decision by the Supreme Court is an important step in protecting the rights of asylum seekers, particularly those who identify as transgender. It ensures that non-citizens have access to a fair and impartial legal system when seeking asylum in the United States. The ruling will make it easier for individuals to challenge removal orders and seek safety and refuge in this country.


The Urgent Need for Transgender Rights in Guatemala

The case of Leon Santos-Zacaria highlights the urgent need for greater protections of transgender rights and safety in Guatemala. Discrimination and violence against transgender individuals in Guatemala has been well-documented. In 2018, transgender activist Andrea Gonzalez was brutally murdered in her own home. This was not an isolated event, according to Human Rights Watch, transgender individuals face high rates of violence, discrimination and hate crimes, targeted by gangs, police, and even family members. This violence is often perpetrated with impunity, leaving transgender individuals without legal protection and has led many transgender individuals to seek asylum in the United States, in hopes of finding safety and protection from persecution. The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law continues to advocate for the rights of marginalized communities, including transgender individuals.


How You Can Help

This is a landmark victory for the rights of transgender asylum seekers in the United States. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for justice and human rights for marginalized communities both in the United States and around the world. We must continue to advocate for greater protections and support for those seeking safety and refuge. If you wish to support the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and our work to protect the rights of marginalized communities, you can make a donation or get involved as a volunteer. You can also support other organizations that advocate for the rights of transgender individuals, such as the Transgender Law Center and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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