TAGS: I Welcome, Individuals at Risk, Urgent Action Network • Gender-based Discrimination, Immigration Detention, LGBT Rights, Refugee and Migrant Rights, Refugees & Asylum, Women's Rights • Americas, USA •

Urgent Action Victory! Trans Asylum Seeker Freed From Detention (USA: UA 108.18)

September 10, 2019

Alejandra Barrera, a transgender Salvadorian activist held in USA immigration detention since 2017, was released late Friday 6 September 2019. We will continue to monitor the status of her asylum petition.



Alejandra fled physical and sexual attacks based on her transgender identity in El Salvador and requested asylum in the USA in November 2017. She was detained from December 2017 until September 2019 at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, reporting inadequate and unresponsive medical care. Authorities denied her parole five times. After continuous international advocacy efforts, a court ordered the USA government to halt her deportation. The USA government also agreed that her appeal merited additional review. Authorities finally released her on parole after her lawyers filed a habeas petition, arguing that her prolonged detention violated the USA Constitution’s due process protections against indefinite detention.

While Alejandra’s release is a result of coalition efforts, it would not have been possible without the sustained interventions of Amnesty International. Upon her release from detention, standing outside of the facility, friends greeted Alejandra with cake and flowers, and she thanked Amnesty International and our partner organization [email protected] Coalition.

Alejandra said, “Even though I haven’t met you, it’s an honor for me to send you this message of love, of struggle, and of bravery. Through your letters of support…you gave me the strength to continue in this struggle that was so hard for me…thank you very much, and I’m here to keep fighting.”

Alejandra will remain free awaiting the final decision on her asylum claim, which we will be monitoring closely.


URGENT: Children seeking asylum in the U.S. are being denied their human rights based on their nationality — help ensure that all girls and boys fleeing violence can seek safety.