The petitioner in this case is a transgender woman living with HIV who was arrested for offering sex for money. Although it is undisputed that she experienced "past persecution on account of a protected ground"—her transgender identity —the 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. Based on misinformation and misconceptions about HIV, the IJ found that "[t]he type of disease also shows that the alien may be a danger to the community."
The Center for HIV Law and Policy and the organizations it represents on this brief raise two issues: the Immigration Judge ("IJ") erred in denying immigration relief based on the petitioner's HIV status, while simultaneously failing to consider how that status places her at imminent risk for future persecution in Mexico. Amici urged the Board to reverse the IJ's decision and grant Ms. Lopez Roque's application for withholding of removal; or, in the alternative, that the Board remand the case to the IJ with instructions that ensure she is not removed on the basis of her HIV status to Mexico, where she faces near-certain violence as a transgender person living with HIV.