12/16/2013 12:47 pm ET

Transgender Asylum Seekers Face Deportation ‘Revolving Door'

John Moore via Getty Images

PHOENIX – Exhausted and defeated, Viviana boarded an airplane two years ago in San Antonio, Texas, facing her fifth deportation from the United States back to Honduras, a country from which she’d been fleeing violence for almost a decade.

“I had been in that plane so many times that the (immigration) officer recognized me,” said Viviana, a transgender woman who asked that her identity be withheld because she has a pending asylum case.

The female officer then told her something that changed everything: “Why don’t you apply for asylum?

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