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Transgender Activist Freed on Bond, Thanks to Crowdfunding Campaign

A local crowdfunding effort resulted in a California transgender activist seeking asylum to be free on $3,000 bond after serving three years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. This was reported by OC Weekly.

Valeria De la Luz left the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 9 with an ankle monitor. She had served time in 2015 on charges of involuntary manslaughter after another transgendered woman, Katia de la Riva, died from silicone embolism syndrome when De la Luz administered the injections at a “silicone party” (an event where transgendered women undergo silicone injections to achieve the changes they want in their bodies).

Ms. De la Luz spent two years at the Santa Ana Men’s Jail and was released. That same day she left prison, she was detained by ICE for a “serious crime” on her record and, for that reason, was denied asylum. She came to the country in 2014 seeking asylum because she feared for her life. Immigration officials determined her fear to be credible and began deportation proceedings so she can visit a judge who could determine the validity of her claims for asylum.

While her case for asylum was being played out, Ms. De la Luz joined Familia TransQueer Liberation, a local LGBT rights group. She soon became the organization’s leader and, as a result of her leadership, the contract between Santa Ana Men’s Jail and ICE ended after 10 years.

The New York immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP understand the issues LGBT non-citizens face and offer immigration legal services in an LGBT-friendly environment. Whether you or your loved one are seeking citizenship, asylum, or are facing deportation, our immigration lawyers are available to help protect your legal rights and attainable pathways to legal residence or citizenship. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York City immigration lawyers, call (212) 267-2555.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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