Morales v. Gonzales (USA)

In 2007, Nancy Arabillas Morales, a.k.a. Juan Manuel Arabillas Morales, a male-to-female transsexual, petitioned for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (“BIA”) decision summarily affirming an Immigration Judge’s (“IJ”) removal order and denial of his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”).

The IJ concluded that Morales was removable both because he was an alien present in the United States without admission or parole and because he had been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude-communication with a minor for immoral purposes.   The IJ further found Morales would have been eligible for asylum but for his conviction, which the IJ determined was a particularly serious crime. Having made that decision, the IJ denied Morales’s applications for asylum and for withholding of removal.   The IJ also denied Morales’s application for CAT relief on the merits, holding that Morales had not shown it was more likely than not he would be tortured if he were returned to Mexico.

The U.S. Court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit concludes the IJ improperly relied on a recitation of facts in the Washington appellate court’s opinion affirming Morales’s conviction.   Relying on those facts, the IJ determined that Morales’s conviction was for a particularly serious crime.   A substantial portion of the facts the IJ relied upon, however, applied to offenses for which Morales had not been convicted.   Therefore, the court remanded to the BIA with instructions to remand to the IJ for a redetermination of the “particularly serious crime” issue.

Here is a statement of what Morales did: Continue reading

Eliana Rubashkyn/Luis Alexander Rubashkyn (New Zealand)


A transgender refugee from Colombia who was knocked back by other countries says she has “found paradise” in New Zealand after being officially recognised as a woman. Eliana Rubashkyn, born Luis Alexander Rubashkyn, claimed she had been imprisoned and ridiculed overseas because her appearance did not match the “male” identity. But the 26-year-old, who did not undergo a sex-change, is thrilled that her New Zealand certificate of identity has her gender stated as “female.” Immigration New Zealand said Ms Rubashkyn was referred for resettlement to New Zealand by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under the refugee quota programme.

Transgender refugee says NZ paradise – National – NZ Herald News.

Transgender woman’s nightmare in Hong Kong – CNN.

Reyes-Reyes v. Ashcroft (USA)

In 2004, Luis Reyes-Reyes petitioned for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).  Because the immigration judge (IJ) invoked the wrong standard in analyzing both of these claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit granted the petition and remanded for further consideration.

Luis Reyes-Reyes, a citizen of El Salvador, fled to the United States as a teenager twenty-five years ago. Motivated by fear of persecution, Reyes entered this country unlawfully and never legalized his presence. Faced now with the immigration consequences of his undocumented status, Reyes continues to fear persecution should he return to El Salvador.

Reyes is a homosexual male with a female sexual identity. He dresses and looks like a woman, wearing makeup and a woman’s hairstyle. Although Reyes has not undergone sex reassignment surgery, he has had a characteristically female appearance, mannerisms, and gestures for the past sixteen years. He has a “deep female identity” and has gone by female names such as Josephine, Linda, and Cukita. Reyes is currently in custody, where he is held separately from the other inmates for his own protection.

Reyes’s original reasons for leaving El Salvador involve disturbingly violent circumstances. When Reyes was thirteen and living with his family in San Salvador, he was kidnaped by a group of men, taken to a remote location in the mountains, and raped and beaten because of his homosexual orientation. Reyes’s attackers threatened future brutality if he reported their actions. Fearing reprisal, he never told his family or the authorities about these crimes. Believing that “homosexuals are not welcome in my home country,” Reyes fled El Salvador after he turned seventeen.

Reyes now faces the prospect of return to El Salvador. Removal proceedings were commenced after Reyes’s undocumented presence came to the attention of immigration authorities. In 2002, Reyes appeared pro se before an IJ, conceded removability, and applied for asylum, relief under the CAT, and withholding of removal. At the hearing, Reyes explained his fears about returning to El Salvador and related the story of his kidnaping and rape and explained his fears that if he returns to El Salvador, he will be discriminated against, abused, raped, or possibly even killed because of his appearance and sexual orientation. The IJ questioned Reyes repeatedly about why he failed to report the crimes and whether “anyone in the Government or acting on behalf of the Government of El Salvador [would] want to torture you.”

384 F.3d 782_ Luis Reyes-reyes, Petitioner, v.

Avery Edison @aedison (Canada)

CaptureAvery Edison is a man (with a penis) who identifies as a woman. He recently penned a blog post shaming a woman for not wanting to engage sexually with his penis.  Edison has been detained as men’s facility  in Toronto on an immigration violation. According to Edison’s Canadian common-law wife Romy Sugden, Edison overstayed a student visa last year but left voluntarily in mid-September. Edison returned to Toronto with a non-refundable return ticket and had planned to stay for three weeks to visit Sugden and speak with lawyers. He was denied entry upon landing and chronicled his ordeal on Twitter. After being detained at the airport for more than seven hours, Avery was transferred to Maplehurst Correctional Complex, a provincial men’s detention and correctional facility in Milton, Ontario.

“While she was being held there, at one point, I was told that male genitals equals male prison and it doesn’t matter,” Sugden, 27, told

Edison has a penis. It is not unreasonable to house Edison with other people with penises, whether or not his passport says “female.” Under the UK Gender Recognition Act, the law that likely enabled Edison’s “female” passport, all that is needed for a man to get a “female” passport is a note from his doctor.  Ontario, Canada, where Edison is currently housed, has similar views on the ease with which men should be allowed to become female on legal documents.

Miles Sisk

Avery Edison, a transgender woman, sent to men’s facility in visa dispute _ canada.

Avery Edison (aedison) on Twitter.

Department of Homeland Security (USA)

According to a news report, the Department of Homeland Security  is set to release new federal regulations that would legally prevent transgender women from being housed with men in immigration detention facilities as part of an effort to reduce the incidence of rape and other forms of sex assault.  Presumably, the same regulations would apply to transmen (who are actually female) from being housed with men as well.

Detention Centers Prep for Safer Transgender Housing _ Womens eNews.

Harriette Cunningham (Canada)

A 10-year-old Comox transgender girl, Harriette Cunningham, claims that facing US-Canadian border officials as a transgender girl — when his identity and outward appearance don’t match the sex designation on his passport — gives him “undue anxiety.” The Grade 5 student and his grandmother, Cathie Dickens, who lives in Comox and spends part of each year in Palm Springs, are mailing letters to MLAs and MPs, asking for changes to official identification policy they say discriminates against transgender people. They also have a meeting scheduled with their MLA, Don McRae, who is also minister of social development.

In British Columbia, where he lives, a person must have sex reassignment surgery before he or she can change the sex designation on a B.C. Birth Record, which typically serves as a basis for other forms of identification, such as passports.

In April 2012, Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal ruled the surgery requirement to be “substantively discriminatory.”

“It perpetuates stereotypes about transgendered persons and their need to have surgery in order to live in accordance with their gender identity, among other things,” adjudicator Sheri Price wrote in her decision.

That ruling provided the basis for a policy change that, in October 2012, made Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow trans people to change their sex designation on a birth certificate without sex reassignment surgery. Now, a trans person in Ontario can apply for a new birth certificate with only a letter from a physician or psychologist.

10-year-old transgender girl wages battle to change identification rules – Opinion – Times Colonist.