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ACLU Sues Federal Government To Release Transgender Woman

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The ACLU has is suing the federal government for detaining a transgender woman after she was granted asylum. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

The woman, called Oscar "Diana" Santander, crossed from Mexico to the United States illegally in 2004, because Mexican police tortured her for being transgender.

15 months ago, U-S police arrested Santander on a misdemeanor.

Immigration officials tried to deport her. But Santander applied for and won asylum.

The government has appealed the decision.

ACLU attorney David Blair Loy says the government cannot keep Santander locked up.

"Given that she has in fact been granted asylum and also relief under the convention against torture, it is extremely unlikely, if not legally impossible for her to be removed from the country," said Blair Loy.

Blair Loy says the only justification for custody is if Santander could be deported.

Federal officials won't comment on pending legal matters.

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