31-year-old sex worker, Camila Díaz Córdova, applied for U.S. asylum in August 2017 due to death threats and extortion from the Barrio 18 gang, one of two criminal outfits controlling vast areas of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Her request was denied, however, because she apparently lacked proper entry documents.
U.S. immigration authorities confirmed they deported Diaz Cordova in November 2017; she then returned to her previous life in San Salvador, was kidnapped, beaten, and died in a hospital a few weeks ago, February 3.
Rainbow Trans director, Monica Linares, states Díaz Córdova was threatened frequently, as was documented with El Salvador’s National Civil Police in 2014.
Linares told Reuters:
“We demand that the authorities investigate, clear up the case and find those responsible, regardless of who they are.”
She told NBC News:
“Camila’s death makes the transgender community in El Salvador feel insecure. There’s a failure of protection in El Salvador and a failure of protection in the United States. Camila had a lot of evidence, and she still was not given asylum.”
Diaz Cordova’s close friend, Virginia Flores, added:
“[U.S. authorities] forced her to sign [her deportation letter] and she signed, but she did not know what she signed because it was in English.”
LGBTQ individuals are frequent targets of violence in El Salvador.
Turning asylum seekers away is not a new outrage for America.
Once again, we look to history.
In June 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis sailed into the port of Miami with 937 almost entirely Jewish passengers.
They, like today’s South American asylum seekers at our Southern border, were fleeing violence. Adolf Hitler was ratcheting up his measures against Jews, and these men, women, and children had managed to escape, hoping to find asylum in the “land of the free.” They could have sailed just about anywhere outside Europe.
They chose here.
And we turned them around.
More than a quarter subsequently died in the Holocaust.
There is indeed a crisis at our Southern border with Mexico.
But it does not entail “caravans of illegals” bringing “drugs, crime, and terrorists.”
It’s how we are choosing to address the thousands of victims of crime, oppression, torture, and malice with exactly the same conditions from which they assumed we could rescue them.
Is this still the “land of the free and the home of the brave”?
Image credit: BuzzFeed News