Appeals and transitions
ed States in 2005. But immigration authorities on the Texas border arrested and deported her after trying to cross into the country illegally.
There was another grim discovery upon her return home.
“I found out that my other friend had been beaten up so bad that his guts were basically just hanging out,” Castro says. “I felt I wasn’t going to survive because both my friends had been killed and I had been identified by the gang members as one of the three [from the carnival], so I fled the country again and ended up in North Carolina the same year.”
This time she made it over the border, staying under the radar with stints in Florida and Virginia over the next few years before ending up in North Carolina, where she was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking in 2011. The charges were later dropped, but because she was undocumented, she was put in deportation proceedings.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement eventually sent her to the North Georgia Detention Center in Gainesville, Georgia, and soon after, the attorneys at Sutherland came on board the case.
The attorneys at Sutherland, led by Associate Samuel Casey, had to prove to the Atlanta Immigration Court that Castro would more likely than not be subject to persecution or torture if she returned to Honduras. They lost
Castro’s new chapter is one that comes with its own set of challenges. She scratched and clawed her way to get to where she is now—a transgender woman of color in the American South. Those are better circumstances than being a transgender woman in Honduras, but not ideal by any means, considering the escalating number of transgender women of color killed in the United States in the past year, nearly half of whom were killed in the South.
The now 33-year-old Castro lives in Durham, North Carolina. Sutherland’s Casey and the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Keren Zwick continue to work to get her get a work permit and an official name change.
“However, once that is done she just gets to live her life,” says Casey.
“I’m not sure which direction I want to go as far as a career and am still in the process of getting my documentation finalized,” Castro says. “Until I get that all worked out and have it in my possession, that will be a different story.”