« Reveal

Six Years Separated

2020-02-15 | 🔗

An asylum-seeking migrant girl is separated from her family at the border and enters U.S. custody at 10 years old. Now, she’s 17 and still in a shelter, even though her family is ready to take her in. They just can’t find her. They turn to reporter Aura Bogado for help.

We then revisit our 2019 investigation into an immigration judge who rejected nearly every asylum case that came before her. Finally, we follow a transgender woman as she tries to claim asylum

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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handling unaccompanied minors. I believe that action We should not remain in our care any longer than the time needed to find an appropriate sponsor pay said Margaret, its were being reunited with their families, much more quickly The end of August of this year, the average length of time that a child station h ages custody is approximately fifty days, which is a dramatic decrease of over forty percent from late November, twenty eighteen, when the of care. Was ninety days what haze didn't tell Congress is it? Some kids are being held much longer reveal immigration reporter out of Bergamo has learned about a girl. I endorse who had been in custody for more than six years since she was ten years old. This girl has spent a big chunk of her child. But being moved around from shelter to shelter out. I found out that the girl had and we here in the U S, a family she wanted to be with and that family wanted to be. With her for reasons we can't figure out, the United States government
cut off communication between them? The last time they were in touch was five years ago. As out, I was voting on this case. She found out about an important hearing that was about to happen. It's Thursday, anyway, sixteen around eleven in the morning, I'm here in Portland, because I found out that the girl has an upcoming court date. It's today our couldn't bring recorder into the hearing, so she take these modes in a hotel room across the street, from the immigration courtroom in downtown Portland since heavy energy. In that room, I've heard From several sources that she wanted to voluntarily to port herself, it joins me now in the studio, an outer who is This young girl you're talking about yeah, so the girl whose Yes, I've been following we're. Not gonna use her name because she's, a minor and she's, experienced an incredible amount of trauma. She's seventeen
she's originally from undue us. She migrated to this country with her brother and he's fourteen. Now they were enough, Esther family, but then they were torn apart and have had a very different expire and from one another in the system, his story as a whole, their case in and of itself, but to day working focus on the girl, she's longer in federal immigration custody than any other kid. I've ever heard about an at immigration court. She was asking to leave the country voluntarily she's billing. This immigration shelters for six or seven years minutes I still have her life, had to wrap my head around it at first, because her case has thrown into question for me just how much or how little the government is really doing to train reunified these children with their families or so I'm doing a little math here, and that means. She was separated from her family during the Obama administration right
So we usually associate family separation with the Trump administration, and we know that it happened under Obama Ages, didn't know what that exactly meant until I heard about this girl, so you said you ve talked with her family right and they told me that they hadn't heard anything bout her for five years, and so when I told them that I was going to Portland for the case, it was the first time they even heard that she had a court date and they asked me to relay a message to her and while you and your hotel room, you were getting those materials together to share with her side printed out a photo of a couple of people, and I think that she probably will remember- and I think I'm gonna write that message on there. It basically tells her don't your deportation order. More specifically, you can't sign that deportation order, because we're still here, we miss you so much. We can wait to see you again the family,
You know very much wants to have her back, so I am looking forward to seeing her today but will see how it goes. Ok, let's pause in the court case for a minute and just go back. How does this go get to the point where she's asking to be deplored. Mean what happened to her. This is exactly what I wanted to know from the moment. I heard about the case we have much to go on, I only knew that the girl had been in the system for more than six years and that she mention the name of an aunt who was possibly living and undo it ass. It was finally able fine that and she was and on, as she was right here in the United States, so this and help raise the girl, along with that, will eat with with the grandmother, and they came to find out that she's the person. That's me
on government documents as the girls potential sponsor back in twenty thirteen and twenty fourteen, which means that he's the one that the? U S, government was supposed to give the girl back to after they separated her from her family at the border an end. I should If that were not naming many of the people in this story, because their victims of trauma or or under age, are simply worried about being deported. Some people have to be named. Like the girls grandmother Dona Emilia, she lives with the girls aunt in North Carolina I went to visit them they'd. They live in countryside where agricultural fields dominate the landscape. She lives in a very my home with a big brood of chickens, that she feeds kitchen scraps, two and three little puppy slope around there, still learning how to run.
Why that's funny I'm mania! Every time I meet her, she wears really bright clothing with her hair tucked under a curt chief, and she wears these big, really aprons and the wrinkles on her face in her hands are deep and at night four years old? They give us a preview of how much life she seen from her and from other family members. I've learned the back story of how some of the family came to the? U S in twenty twelve, the only grandson, was brutally murdered. Who was shot and the vehicle that he was driving with set a blaze melting off whole parts of his body. His death of marked one of roughly said thousand homicides in on notice. That here then, who wish
They Honduras, is a pretty small country. Yes or seven thousand is a big number yeah. It's about the size of Louisiana and as the family made arrangements for his funeral. They also mapped out their escape. They'd sometimes received threats to their. I was and well being which they had previously pushed aside. But now those threats no longer felt hollow loans, Somalia and the family made away first to the capital and unload us, then North to Mexico. And then finally to the United States. They wanted to be here first so that they could set up for the others who were still on their way. A few weeks later. The girl, her brother, another aunt and cousin, arrived at the border and the girl and her brother are separated from that an increase, pretty much right away? This is I'm common, in fact, its standard practice to separate any child
from an adult who isn't their birth, mother or their birth father did immigration officials keep the kids together, though, at first? Yes, the two we're shuffle around together, first to foster care in or again, and then sources tell me to foster care and Massachusetts. Girl had a really tough time being away from her family and it kept getting worse. Longer. She was in the brother- and this is I would call on you, I might have from time to time and tell them how they were doing l anemia seed your daddy S, all ethical dollar letter materials beetle. Only on Monday, I hear she was telling me the girl be ass. She hid herself, she cut herself with knives body a basis, not alumina. Berlioz was steady era guilty for their speed, then get out.
It is a good idea, if one so yea they kept putting her in the hospital. She told me a lot of times, not just once lots of times, and so I asked her what kind of hospital and she said who now Yes, it would be a bewildered. What will happen a little bit and will be less. She hid herself. She hit herself with think sharp. She told me like one of those, so she was Looking at the wall and mastered, do you mean the wall and she said yes, like the wall and from there we never you anything else about her. Nothing. Nothing at all does family know why she was hurting yourself. They told me that she had never harmed herself before coming to the United States. One family members says that the girl got the idea that if she hurt herself she'd get attention and they really, sir, back to her family.
Up to this point, the brother and sister were together, and U S palace You is to release minors to their family members or a suitable sponsor do. We know why they would never released to their family and that's unclear our is one theory that, because the girl isn't blood related to zone, am I in the aunt government officials didn't want to turn her over, but her brother is blood related and so that's sort of flies out the window. It could be that the government sought the family wasn't fit, Some reason the family says they don't know that they didn't hear any explanation from the government I haven't been able to get an answer either to the family, have any documentation of this? Absolutely they
a lot of documentation that they tried their best to prove to the government that they were indeed the family of these two children and that they were fit and that they want the children back. So there is no doubt that the government, a den of five, this family is the sponsoring family. The girl was in touch with the family through the beginning of twenty fifteen, but then the phone calls stopped the family didn't hear from them or anything about them. For five years then there that I wrote Sonia money again telling me they buried her. The government buried her and that line has really stuck me. She seemed that the government buried this child they'd silenced her underground. The family says there calling the phone numbers that they had for the case manager and the case work her that they'd had previously been in touch with, but nothing no one answered weeks went by and those turned into months and at some point, the phone number that they had was discussed.
Then I recently tried calling to phone numbers that I found on documents associated with the case worker. At the time one was out of order and the other belong to a new user. So this fear it is no longer hearing from the kids. They can't get anyone from the gun, to respond. So what was it like for this family for this family out. This wasn't family separation for them these Children would disappeared, automobile tell him measure the memory of the euro. Instead, I will do that almost around the meal alternatives can yet dollars over the end then leave those I want them blunders the air we didn't know where they were at the thing I was dying from tears. It asked local: are they dead? How are they like? how homeless children be suffering naked, hungry and the family was so pet
five of the government itself, not just of government officials but also of contractors associated with the whole shelter system, so attorneys and advocates and casework prison in case managers for Loney Amelia she called on the one authority, she's, always placed her faith in God. You're welcome is in your visits, A mother. You were Tootles bullet. Also, does your mother be used by this? I call on my guy called on him Jehovah your power for your wonderful father, relieve me from this, please bring down an angel from the sky, but I do think the result of love it he said on television that all of the children that were taken from their families have to be returned. They said that is, or is it does little bedroom And been Michael, but the elite World Jesus, it's true
the terrible and the end. There is really no equal comparison, it's as if they were dead as if they were dead. We knew nothing, nothing. And it was clear over several days talking with her in person that she thinks about the kids all of the time. It's not like. There were certain things that reminded her of the kids. It was counts, none of the family out in North Carolina or an undue, thus had heard anything about the girl or the boy until poking around. I'm talking to reveals outer bogucharovo about a case of seventeen oh girl, from Honduras, who has been held in? U S custody for six years, when we come back,
the tracks now what happened to her doing their time and what comes next. This is revealed from this. Investigative reporting and p r ex review is supported by tree. Botanical life is full of tough choices and tradeoffs your duty routine. Will you put on your body every day shouldn't be one of em filled with
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they come to the. U S from Honduras with family members. Typically, children would only be separated from their family for a few months. A joint me in the studio in out of the children were initially together. The girls now facing deportation. Can you take us through? What's happened to the girl over the years, she has been placed in transferred bunch of times she started out with a foster family in or again then, as far as I've been able reconstruct, went to a different foster family in Massachusetts, then, do a residential treatment centre in Florida and then Two Shiloh Residential Treatment Centre in Texas. Wait. Wait. You mean Shiloh that we reported on that has been forcibly drugging. Children yeah that one twice I just mentioned the first time that she was sent to Shiela sources have told me. She then went to shelter in New York and then
She was sent back to Shiloh, then, a few months ago she was sent to a shelter back in Oregon and at some point in all this, the girl started to believe that her family abandoned her, that they didn't want her, that they didn't care for her when, during the whole time they were think about her and they wanted her back. Doesn't the girl have a representative or a lawyer that would stop this from happening, whose at fault here since we still Dont know why the government cut off contact it's hard to say exactly whose fault we do know at the girl has had a number of people representing her over time. I don't yet the total number of attorneys that she's had, but that's one of the challenges that comes with prolonged attention, the inability to house steady legal represent mission. Attorneys came and went and the girl stayed the girl, also
it has an advocate. The advocate is different than the attorney that represents her. She supports what's best for the girl. The attorney represents the girl once but the girl once and what's best for her, aren't necessarily the same thing. So that brings us back to the hearing that you flew out the Portland to watch where you heard that the girl was gonna, ask to be deported right. So this is this really important hearing, and I heard so much about the girl, but I've never seen her much less talk to her checked check so and back in my hotel room. So this is what you recorded after you witness the girls court proceedings. I recognise the girl right away as soon she walked and she came in wearing, I think, like black pants, but she had this really pretty cream colored top,
with flared sleeves on arms and then kind like black lace work. Going down the middle and then just black piping over some parts of of the blouse. She had her hair totally pulled back in and She and she had a whole bunch of like pink berets on with know. It was like hearts or bears or something Anything else that you noticed about girl. She seemed nervous used constantly fidgeting and looking around. They called the kids and the court room and since these hearings are open to the public I just went in after them. In inside there was a big department have just seal on the wall behind the judge, and there was would paneling on the walls, and there were about a dozen kids listening in the courtroom. Okay, so the judge called a case and the attorney
for the respondent said that she wanted this other case to be heard first, and it turns out to be the girl, the girl, whose case I've been following. So the girls steps to the front she she takes her seat, she puts her headphones on, so that she can understand the interpreter. Hee it's out her name and has asks that's her and she says yes see so. This cruel has been here from the age of ten and she's seventeen now and she still needs an interpreter. Clearly she can say some words in English, But she is most comfortable communicating in spanish the phenomenon robot hears it she's been in the. U S
for years, but she hasn't had consistent access to real education. She's, not allowed access social media accounts. I mean. What are they doing to or like she doesn't even have a cell phone which you can contact anybody. We I mean that's all. But we're trying to figure out. I know that the shelter that she sat now Morrison, like many other shelters it sort of a revolving educational programme, because these shelters again there not design to hold kids for more than a few months, maybe a year, certainly not six years, and so I have one like how many times as she learned the Abbe sees how many times has she learned to put to us for, and it is impossible to
oh. There have been so many layers and there hasn't been a layer where I'm like. Oh this makes sense right. They think if they ve kept her, they ve kept her away from her family. Remember she came here seeking asylum her uncle was brutally murdered. Minutes no joke. I have seen the death certificate. I've talked to enough people to know what happened. What what that was like in her family is trying to bring her here so that she has a life and the life she's had what happens when she's in front of the judge the girl requested, voluntary departure. She won. To leave the country before a decision on her asylum case has been reached which
some say she filed nearly two years ago. Her attorney filed there, As for voluntary departure on the girls behalf and her out, you're. The one who's charged with doing what's best for the child wrote a letter in some court of that request for a voluntary departure and recommended for safeguards for when she's taken back to undo. Thus, I only know about one of the safeguards, because that's only one that immigration. Judge referred to and that safeguard is for us to simply provide the girl with sixty days of peace, christian medication in her travel bag was is related to the mental health concerns. Her grandmother shared with you. What I mean for sure is that the family has told me that they don't know what medications she's on, but I do know from pre. He is reporting that Shiloh, where she stayed for awhile would put kids on powerful drugs without family consent. The advocates letter in court was simply requesting for
The government to provide a short supply of critical medication, but the immigration judge, Richards Emperor Dino, said he couldn't order immigration and customs enforcement to provide the two months supply of medication. He said he could just tell eyes to make its best efforts. I know that I rules say they do provide deportees, up to thirty days of medication. And so the judge ends of granting the girl voluntary deportation. Did it seem to you like she understood what was happening with these proceedings. She seemed to have a clear understood
being of what was happening. Sheep wanted to have a voluntary departure. She'd seemed pleased with the outcome, and so I dont want to take this agency away from her that that she's exercising in this moment so has she been deported, no not yet matters of today at least but but it can happen any day now, and it should happen before May fifteen at the very very latest. That's the date that the immigration judge Set will will she go if she sent back to Honduras? What will likely happen if she sent back is shall go with her birth mother who didn't raise her and whose government only reconnected with a few weeks ago, and only after I essentially got the family in touch with the girl
it is this case an anomaly I mean she's, the only child. We know about that spent years alone in federal immigration custody. That's what I'm trying to figure out right now. I know of several other cases where kids were kept in custody for years. That's that's. Just my own reporting some were, or are still right now being kept in firms for more than two years. Of one child who was kept for five years. The federal government has those answers and I've filed public records request. They haven't meaningfully responded. They ve basically stonewalled me and so now, we're suing to to get that information and were hoping to learn. A little more because we assume that there may indeed be more kids who ve experienced or maybe are still experiencing, prolong, custody and I reached out to
remain in and shelter officials to better understand this story, but so far no one has agreed to comment directly on the girls case. The office of refugee resettlement, did say that it would be inaccurate to generalise its operations based on one case, were you able to talk to the girl, the courtiers? Well, I want to give her this message from from her family and their phone number. In and the photos that I printed out so I decide to stand in the elevator lobby, where I thought that it probably have the best chance of being able to hand this over to her. I hear them hear them coming out and I say her name telling my name. I tell her I'm a reporter, and I tell her this is your Emily. I know your family have been in touch with them. Right away the minder. It says to hurry, not basically to ignore me.
And then I'm telling her take this take this. She takes it and her expression, GIS, completely lights up. And she says to the woman she's like this is then this is them with just this just elated joy, but remember I'm giving her this message just moments after she asked. To depart the country, thinking that her family has abandoned her soon after they they were, Joanna corner in and I left. Where does this leave dicks. A lot has happened since the immigration judge approved this girl's request for voluntary departure. She talked with her family for the first time,
Dona Emilia, explain to me what that first and only recent video call with with the girl was like many hole Although aware lamb is all you know, New Yoda Dogma. Do you think the desert Julia around the Bush. Those on your mind. He had told me that the girl said hi, I'm wireline. She said hello, my child and within that she was crying and what she spent seven years crying for her and the girls, Oh, I love, but I have already asked for my deportation an m gonna go. Antonia money. I told her come over here come with us. Can I go doing on boot ass, given what I said about? It though no Amelia learned in this conversation that the girl has learned how to read she's beneath the United States for more than six years. Be still doesn't know how to read. She also shared.
Most of her days are good but that she still of harming. Sometimes and don't you. Ammonia also said that she pushed back when the girl said that she wanted to go back to undo us thus in a young mothers it appears bessie I can find no yodeling any aid. Might I saw what does she gonna go do over there too to lose her, so to raise children. She's gonna get passed around from man to man. That's what she's headed to yoga them will be the year in which the rounds of mother joy, he gets avenge IST unbeatable is that gives the mile or can be imposed on me. She was lost to us. We didn't have hope. We don't have any thing- and today we do because we know that the kids are alive, it might be well, they might not be well, but they're alive, Oh, has this interaction with her family chain?
the girls desire to leave the country its unclear. If the girl has formally asked legally asked to change her petition to the courts, the case manager has also been in touch with the families Finally, the connection between the government and the family members in the: U S horse still willing to sponsor her. But after some initial contacts their family says the case measure is mostly ignoring their calls obviously they worried about losing contact again, assuming she does go back to Honduras, does a family. There know when she might becoming well. I have been able to talk with her birth mom she hasn't been in contact with her daughters since she left on lewd eight years ago. Is she heard from her for the first time a cup weeks ago,
the birth mom told me that the girl said she didn't want to go back to elude us. After all that she wanted the stone with her aunt and with her grandmother. Your pneumonia, are the ones who raised her. She told me, and since they decided to try and give this girl of future, I dont want to see it twisted around. That's what she told me. She said that the growth should be with her, only in her family Estonia, who told me that the people who called likely the case manager and may be the attorney or, or the advocate said that there's nothing it can be done now that the those orders have already been signed.
The? U S, government which lost contact with the girls family for five years right here and in the United States in its own country, is somehow going to get this seven. Senior year old to her birth mother, in this tiny whirl place and in the hills of undue us, and if the girl is deported back, she could also be sent to a shelter there which, if you think they're back here, it's just a whole different level of awful over there unless something stops. Third, The deportation wait. I thought the immigration judge already granted her request to leave the country, so saying that that can actually be stopped Immigration law, especially it ain't over till it's over. What I know to be true, is that until that girl sets foot in on dude has anything literally anything can happen. Immigration law is full of bureaucratic.
Send out the girl, could request emotion to reopen or reconsider her deportation and the girls grandmother only a she's hopeful, but she recognises the gargantuan forces that her family is still trying. Fight money, boy you man man Not the rocky, manned sensation, the power she told me since they and things they are the ones who run things, not with God, but here they do they do whatever they want. At the end, there will be Obama whatever one continental Jackie and it wasn't this government, she told me it was Obama was end when we got here. It was him they let us in what they took our children. We saw
It would be a temporary thing, but no look. How much time has passed This reveals out of a girl, arab. Thank you so much, I think so to read more to get updates on this story, sign of four new later at reveal news dot, Org Slash newsletter when we come back the story of an immigration judge who turned down ninety seven percent of cases, the came before her court. This is reveal from the centre for investigative reporting. Mp. Our eggs
from the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs. This is reveal a mallet in downtown LOS Angeles, at the corners Dixon Olive, a long line of men and women in suits families with small children, stretches up front doors down the block and round the corner. This is immigration court. What happens inside is a bit of a mystery, because hearings are often closed to the public. Decisions are rarely published and most judges aren't allowed to talk to the press, but today we're gonna hear one immigration judge who served for years. She was allowed to be interviewed because she had recently retired we first air. The story last April reveals badgered Michael's is on his way to meet with her, but first Patrick stops by that line of people waiting to get in the court and chat with two lawyers scares me. I'm a reporter cover immigration for radio show called reveal.
He's curious. If they know the judge he's about to interview the Re Munoz MAX, I'm gone. In the corner the interview, a former immigration judge which, when the rain Munoz, ok yeah what what he said. I am going to say and that's the kind of reaction you got from love lawyers, he asked about, Judge will re Munoz. She has. Something of a reputation she's known for being tough rulings, had a huge impact on one specific community, transgender people who had fled their countries because they were afraid for their lives. They came to the: U S seeking asylum and almost every time, Judge Munoz turned them away, rejecting more sound claims than almost anyone else in the country. How can one judge hold so much power and wish you fair? That's what Patrick wants to find out.
Loreen, Munoz, never planned on becoming a judge. The only lawyers I ever knew were what you saw on tv. I mean that had no I met a lawyer, my life, at a good thing. I guess she up in east delay as a second generation american, her grandparents emigrated from Mexico, Elementary School while she studied law at night and when she got her degree, she was an advocate. She represented immigrants, farm workers and refugees, flee civil wars and El Salvador and Honduras. Then, when her son, it's just a few years old, her husband died. She knew about it, government job with better pay and more security in ninety ninety seven, she became an immigration judge. That was a single mom. I had a child trace, and the immigration court was hiring, but I was shocked at how and in bullfighting you're selling out it was a huge shift. Lawyer. She represented individual immigrants fighting to get them status. As a judge shoes,
the gatekeeper- I was no longer an advocate. I now had boss to maintain a system She spent a few days at Judge School and herself on the bench in her own courtroom, the first time you sit up there, in your own immigration court running the show. What's that, like really awkward I mean it's so self, conscious, you're, sitting there and but he's staring at you. The stakes are high and she under pressure to move through her cases quickly, she started here I'm so fast. People called her court, the rocket docket
I mean that there really were list that were published every week and where your cases were how many were over sixty days, these verse country wide her court got a reputation not just for how fast she turned through cases, but also because in her decisions I've got the numbers hearings. I wanted to the quote them. Twenty. Thirteen to twenty eight team. You made six hundred seventeen asylum decisions, and and rejected. Six hundred of them, which is a pretty high, deny all right you know did. Did you recognize at the time that that was a high rate compared to other judges? Well, I don't know that reports I can't really say how its analyze, but I was in a detention centre by then it will. She wasn't in the detention centre.
He means is, she only saw people who were being held in detention and judges across the country tend to reject those cases. More often still in that six years, snapshot judgment, those denied ninety seven percent of asylum claims, meaning she turned people down. Forty, sent more often than the national average and we ve got another window into her courtroom. Lawyers, group sued, the Justice Department to see complain. Filed against immigration judges after years in court, Do you finally released them? The judges Aims were adapted but one lawyer figured out how to unredeemed them, including nearly eight hundred pages of complaints against Judge Munoz, most are about the way she treated people in court, one
her described hearing as an inquisition and said, Judge Munoz was unfit to be on the bench. Another described, overwhelming hostility, sarcasm and intimidation. Judge Munoz tells me people just Miss read her Yes, I was a tough judge. If that's how you want to characterize it, I was a demanding judge. I have standards suggests I that you and I felt was adieu, he too, you know do your best and I Man did that from my lawyers, and not everybody likes that these documents show she wasn't only tough on lawyers. That's because an immigration court you're not guaranteed an attorney, so lots of people representing them Oh is saying, and women those that inflicted in persuading the moment I stood in front of her. It was so difficult
I didn't know how to explain my situation to her. I felt lost the upper vena. That's rosier the transgender woman from Guatemala we're not saying her for me, because her applications for permanent status are still pending and her where is she might be punished for speaking out about Judge Munoz his court, These two countries less cause us. Well, I tried to lane to hers in the things before now. Happen to me in my country, but she simply said that did not believe any of it. It was story that I was simply repeating from others that had been in front of her. She said that We already knew this story him. The important way was always cold, simply rude, free accorded Dante immigration courts, deal with all kinds of human suffering. More genocide, political persecution,
and then suffering gets divvied up unevenly. New York judges get the majority of asylum cases from China. Judges in Miami decide most of the cases from Haiti and for you there's Judge Munoz saw huge portion of asylum claims from transgender women like ratio. In Tokyo may present day infringing the moment, I was in front of her ass. She made an assumption about me: saying, he didn't believe that I was a transgender woman, no more from criminal from inside detention. Without a lawyer, ratio managed to submit almost two hundred pages of evidence with her asylum claim. She says she suffered horrible of use in Guatemala that her father attacked or with the machete the gang members threatened her and the police raped her all because she was transgender, but in court transcripts when Socio tries to testify about that violence, Judge Munoz never really lets her explain what happened at one point. The judge asks rosy offered,
tales about a trip she took in Guatemala and ratio tries to explain what happened on that day. The two policemen kidnapped and raped her, but Munoz cuts cut her off, saying, I don't know, You feel that's important in the end she rule. The receiver story was not credible and ordered her deported. They stood aside destroyed me your seeing her face the way He looked at me and for the way she talk to me, I knew was going to lose my case, which is having a key lame up an attorney. Colleagues in Linder, has worked on hundreds of cases and Judge Munoz Escort there was a hostile environment for family members witnesses who came- and it was our most hostile for people who, whose lives were were in the hands of judgment. As she says it was Add for lawyers to some would refuse to take cases before a judge. Munoz literally deprived people of council, because they knew
that the experience was going to be so difficult in front of her. As some people gave up their cases because thing they just didn't wanna have to deal with the trauma of shit in their story. In that environment, some people ended up being detained three years she says the it would sigh organ then leave in the middle of someone testifying about something, traumatic and she said, it was worse for her transgender clients, when one transition woman struggled to explain an incident in her past. Tarja says: Judge Munoz asked if her memory hit impaired by hormone therapy and with Trans then Judge Munoz insisted on using the wrong pronouns calling them, sir. And addressing them by their former names. The judge would say you know. Pee Wee Herman were in my court room. I wouldn't call him pee wee. I would call him Paul after she started seeing more of these cases in two thousand Levin Judge Munoz says she asked her bosses for guidance about which pronouns to use but never heard anything
She says she even asked one of her clerks to research. What the law set about it and didn't find anything, and she says there was practical reason why she referred to transgender women using male pronouns like he in him, but she had to keep the written record consistent. Not a social issue, I'm not in there trying to you, no change the world I'm just in there trying to deal with the law. One of the big complaints against her was she didn't understand the basics. The gender identity, is totally separate from sexual orientation. Immigration officials are trained about this, but judges dont get that training. You know I am not an expert on Trans and the history of cases were based on just gay. A sound cases. So when Trans involved as a minimum Common type of case we didn't have any training or background or materials.
Tal you another lawyers I talked with, say. If Judge Munoz wandered help, she could have read their evidence and listen to experts who explained that discrimination against transgender women is differ from discrimination against gay and lesbian people, and I was like you know, they're they're certain. More awareness generally in society now than there was ten years ago, and yet there is still a line, I think, between mockery. It felt like an attack For years, I spent hundreds of trans women before Judge Munoz, a judge one of the highest denial rates in the country. A judge,
I could show regularly cast doubt on people's gender identity after years of filing complaints and seeing no discipline, no change, a few lawyers decided to fight back. They picked a case that was scheduled for Judge Munoz Court and set it up for an appeal. They wanted to force higher courts to say She was wrong. I think I've got this for the same. I all through these cases yet Jani Mean Woods, Miss this judgment argue. Before the nine Circuit Court of appeals and twenty fifteen lawyers described the case of Very often, Donno Hernandez, transgender woman had been raped by police in Mexico, judge, Munoz denied or claim ordering heard a return to Mexico, partly on the basis that court. There were beginning to legalise gay marriage. She reasoned game, marriage was assigned, the country was safer for transgender people, but the lawyers who challenged her argued that reasoning was flawed.
In addition to refusing to refer to the applicant, ninety preferred pronouns, the judge seem to understand the difference between what it means to be a transgender woman and a gay man, and that difference is of course crucial. Lawyer had evidence showing the risks for Trans women are especially grave as many as three quarters trains. Woman in Mexico have been a victim of violent crime, most often sexual violence. After, while the judges heard enough, I think of it. To my mind, the arguments by everyone well argued the courtroom. The judge, Munoz and the Board of immigration appeals or Ba, which also denied the case, had been wrong, that the last we recognise there are distinct risks that, gender women face. I asked Judge Munoz about that. So, like one of the things, the nine circuit said was that the your court that you and the Ba both. What would you say this ball tat? It was there. There is a distinction between it out:
reality and gender identity. I really didn't feel that I understood the difference. The appeals. Court ruling was a landmark for transgender immigration law. Now, immigration judges would need to treat trans people as their own protect. A group and lawyers now use that accident to win transgender asylum cases. All over the country, but in Judge Munoz his court. The ruling did not seem to make a big impact. Remember Lucille judge when you were rejected her asylum claim months after the appeals court ruling. After that ratios, another nine months back in detention. Then she used at precedent from the nine circuit to file an appeal it was the best thing to ever happened to me and working up asylum with the help of a lorry.
Russia was assigned to a different judge and she want Sicilians infinitely thing guy. Every. Deep so much help. Since the day I got out, I work now have moved ahead. I go to school winner. My entire life is so much better. Maybe then we could have a mustache now? What's your lives and allay Ngos, the cooking school think she says she couldn't do in Guatemala because of discrimination two years after the appeals, court ruling Judge Munoz retired. In talking to her, you can tell she found her time on the bench frustrating she told me the job where's you down eats away at you. She says she's got a lot about her legacy and the complaints
Mr, when you hear something over and over and over again, if you dont address it. If you dont embrace in question it, then This being naive, and that's just not responsible so yeah, I've had to think about it. I've concluded that it's a handful of people who are very vocal, I'm ok, since judge, Munoz retired the department has grown the Trump administration is. I heard more than a hundred seventy new immigration judges I reached out to the press. Into the union for immigration judges? I asked her whether these new judges get any training about using the right pronouns and about the dangers transgender people face around the world. Her response a b no, since historic story, first aired the Trump Administration has appointed more than seventy new judges. In fact
President drop has now hired more than half of the nation's immigration. Judges. Thanks reveals Patrick Michael's financed story what say it produces. We show Andy. Donoghue bet buyers edited the show Victoria, Baroness, he is reveals General Council production managers Wendy closer originals goin sound designed by the dynamic, do Gabriel, Jim Briggs. If a man, though my man yell a router that help this week, Caitlin Vans, Catherine may Mondo, Amy, Mustapha Energy, but me are seeing you supervising editors. Talking tell it needs our sea years. Croatia from birth Thompson is editor in chief and our executive producer Kevin's out a thesis is by comrade of public support for feels provided by the Raven David Building Foundation, the John the encampment Macarthur Foundation. The Jonathan family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the highs
Science Foundation, the democracy fund and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation. Ravine. Is a co production of the scent of will investigate, reporting and p r eggs. I'm a lesson and remember: there is always more to the story: x.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-25.