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Transgendered Salvadoran can apply for asylum

Transgendered Salvadoran can apply for asylum

A federal appeals court says a transgendered person who fled El Salvador at age 17 after being kidnapped and raped should have another chance to avoid deportation. The ninth U.S. circuit court of appeals ruled Monday that Luis Reyes-Reyes, now 42, can remain in the Los Angeles area if he can prove to immigration officials that he would be subjected to antigay bullying if deported. A unanimous three-judge panel said a deportation panel erroneously demanded that Reyes show he would be tortured by the Salvadoran government. The San Francisco-based appeals court said federal laws prohibit deportation if a foreign government tacitly approves of privately inflicted torture. The appeals court said El Salvador's national police had been involved in hitting, threatening, and insulting gay men with female sexual identities. Reyes-Reyes, of San Salvador, reportedly lives as a woman but has not had a sex-change operation. (No further information was available regarding Reyes-Reyes's gender identity.) Reyes-Reyes said a group of men kidnapped, raped, and beat him when he was 13 years old because of his feminine behavior and that they threatened more punishment. He fled to the United States four years later and managed to avoid being detected as an illegal immigrant for 25 years. He was ordered deported in 2002. A panel of immigration judges must now decide whether the Salvadoran government condoned or willfully ignored the abuse or whether Reyes-Reyes is likely to be abused again if returned to his native country. Federal law prohibits the deportation of people to countries where they are likely to be tortured.

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