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California Briefing / SAN DIEGO

Release urged in transgender case

August 15, 2008|From the Associated Press

A transgender Mexican granted asylum in the U.S. should be released from immigration jail while her case is under appeal, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The ACLU said Oscar Santander, also known as Diana Santander, should be freed while the government appeals an immigration judge's ruling in May that gave her asylum because she would be at risk of torture if deported to Mexico.

Santander, 42, came to California illegally in 1994 but was deported in 2001 to Tijuana. Her attorneys claim she was held for 72 hours and forced by Mexican authorities to perform oral sex.

She returned to the U.S. in 2004 and was arrested in L.A. in 2007 on suspicion of trespassing and prostitution. Santander then applied for asylum protection as a transgender person.

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