What’s next for these transgender asylum seekers stranded in Mexico?

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02/03/2021

Kataleya Nativi Baca, 29, can see the yellow grasslands of San Ysidro, California, from the crests of Tijuana’s hills. The palm trees swaying less than a mile from her shack are rooted in the place she calls el otro lado—the other side. When she goes to the beach in Tijuana, the sands of San Diego are an arm’s reach away through the narrow gaps between the 20-foot-tall steel bollards of the border wall. But for Kataleya, the United States has never felt farther away. “Going to the wall reminds you of the sacrifices you’ve made and of not being able to cross to the other side,” Kataleya says. Kataleya is a transgender woman from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. She’s one of thousands of people attempting to seek asylum in the U.S. stalled in a line that stopped moving 11 months ago and behind another 60,000 asylum seekers who have been required under former President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program to wait outside the U.S. for their claims to be reviewed. She may have cause for new hope. On February 2, President Biden signed an executive order to review the policy and possibly allow asylum seekers to wait in the U.S. in the near future for their applications to be processed.

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