A Fight for Asylum Raises Awareness for LGBT HIV-Affected Detainees

Having HIV should not convert disorderly conduct into a deportation-triggering felony.

A request for asylum and immigration protection by Ms. Lopez, an HIV positive transgender Latina woman, is providing a rare glimpse into the complexities of deportation cases and the harsh realities facing LGBT and HIV-affected immigration detainees, according to the Voice of Orange County, a non-profit investigative news agency focusing on government accountability in Southern California. Ms. Lopez was arrested for sex work. Although it is undisputed that Ms. Lopez experienced "past persecution on account of a protected ground"—her transgender identity — an immigration judge improperly concluded that her HIV status, together with her arrest on sex work charges, trumps her imminent risk of persecution in Mexico and allows deportation. As the news report highlights, in July 2013, The Center for HIV Law and Policy filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Ms. Lopez's case on behalf of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, the HIV Medicine Association, and Bienestar. As CHLP's Legal Director Iván Espinoza-Madrigal explained in the article, Ms. Lopez’s "case is part of systemic HIV discrimination in immigration proceedings and the criminal justice system.” “Having HIV should not convert disorderly conduct into a deportation-triggering felony."

Poz Magazine featured CHLP's amicus brief, the BIA decision, and Ms. Lopez's immigration relief.

Windy City Times also featured Ms. Lopez's case.

El Diario/La Prensa, the largest and oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper New York City, covered this immigration case, and used it as a platform to showcase LGBT and HIV immigration issues.