Transgender woman lands victory in Immigration Court
in the initial trial in 2013, but appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
During the appeals process, Castro was undergoing counseling and came to understand that she identified as female. She began hormone treatment, began going by the name Marisela, and transitioned to life as a woman.
The case then ended up back in Atlanta Immigration Court for a retrial in September, where her attorneys were able to prove what Castro’s fate would likely be were she to be sent back to Honduras.
Judge Madeline Garcia ruled in favor of Castro and told her to “be good,” since certain crimes could render her ineligible for protection. Castro and her attorneys left the courthouse shortly thereafter.
“I reflected back on all those struggles I had experienced,” Castro says of her reaction to winning the case. “I was very content and happy that I could stay in this country, but the main thing is I miss my mother because there’s nothing I believe I can do about protecting her or going to her. But now I’m at the point where I start a new chapter of my life.”
‘Once that is done she just gets to live her life’