Ap­peals and tran­si­tions

GA Voice - - Georgia News -

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.”

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