VIDEO: Trans woman endures detention, becomes advocate

Telemundo Arizona recently reported on the journey of Tania Chacon and how she became an advocate on behalf of other LGBTQ immigrants like herself. Chacon was detained after being pulled over for driving without a license and put into a men's detention center despite being a trans woman. There she told the reporter she suffered harassment by fellow inmates and by guards. Luckily she was released when a judge agreed that she would face discrimination in Guatemala as a trans woman. Chacon then found out about Raul Alcaraz and the border immigrant rights group Fondo de Defensa Arcoiris which works to support LGBTQ migrants and push for comprehensive immigration reform. She committed herself to working hard for the other LGBTQ migrants she left behind in the detention center who have yet to be released.

Recently the Center for American Progress outlined the continued challenges that LGBTQ immigrants, especially trans women face in a private and lucrative immigration detention system. House leaders have yet to introduce comprehensive immigration reform, although the Senate passed a bill last year. Until then many undocumented people, including an estimated 267,000 of them that are LGBTQ, fear and face detention and abuse.

Currently there are only a 9 states (CA, CO, IL, MD, NV, NM, VT, WA, UT, *OR) and the District of Columbia allow undocumented immigrants a license they can use to drive to and from home, school, or work. Oregon's measure is up for referendum this November. Minor traffic infractions often lead to deportation and devastating consequences for immigrants, LGBT and non-LGBT.