Democratic Presidential candidate Julián Castro has escorted a group of LGBT+ asylum seekers across the US-Mexico border.
Castro travelled to Matamoros in Mexico on Monday to meet with the eight asylum seekers, who fled Cuba, Guatemala and Honduras because of persecution based on their sexuality and gender identity.
Among them was Ray, a 35-year-old asylum seeker who says he was fired from his job in Cuba because of his sexual orientation.
Julián Castro helped LGBT+ asylum seekers cross border
Together with a deaf woman with her family, the group of LGBT+ asylum seekers and the Presidential hopeful made the journey to the US border.
The group sought an exemption, supposedly available for vulnerable people, from a Trump administration policy that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are heard.
Castro explained: “We crossed back into the US with 12 LGBTQ and disabled asylum seekers who should not be included in the Remain in Mexico policy. ”
However, within just hours of the high-profile intervention, the asylum seekers’ exemption claim was rejected and they were sent back to Mexico.
‘Outrageous’ Trump policy under fire
Castro said: “Hours after we were told LGBT and disabled asylum seekers would have their cases heard, they have been returned to Mexico.
“By law, these migrants are supposed to be exempt from the Remain in Mexico policy [as vulnerable people]—but @CBP had decided to ignore their due process. Outrageous.”
The Texas Civil Rights Project said: “More If these people — LGBTQ migrants who have been assaulted for who they are in the camps, disabled people, children — do not meet the criteria for ‘vulnerable populations,’ then the ‘vulnerable’ exemptions in ‘Remain in Mexico’ are lip service.”
The group added: “Trump’s intent is to hide the cruelty of his administration away from our eyes.
“As soon as the reporters left to file their stories, CBP released the asylum seekers back into Mexico, where they face persecution in an open-air encampment where thousands from countries the US has destabilised are forced to survive indefinitely.”
Castro added: “Under the terms of the Remain in Mexico policy, somebody with a physical issue or mental health trauma is meant to be exempted, and allowed to remain in the US instead of being sent back to Mexico.
“These members of the LGBTQ community have been persecuted, subjected to violence, threatened.
“They’re suffering trauma and some of them PTSD, so we believe they should qualify for that exemption because of the mental health trauma they’re going through.”
Castro previously served as Barack Obama’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary.