Know Your Rights: Immigration Law

Because transgender individuals with immigration concerns are doubly vulnerable to unjust actions by police and immigration authorities, there is a strong network of support for transgender community members dealing with immigration issues. This manual aims to be a general and broad resource to answer common and locally-specific questions, but there are many resources on the internet that are also very thorough and helpful. One notable resource was written by Immigration Equality, a national organization, and the Transgender Law Center, an organization based in San Francisco, and published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. This resource, entitled “Immigration Law and the Transgender Client,” is a lengthy and thorough manual that provides in-depth information about a large scope of transgender-specific concerns. It is available for free here.

After September 11, 2001, the U.S. government abolished the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and formed the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and re-organized the agencies which oversee immigration. DHS is now the umbrella organization for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the enforcement and deportation branch; Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), which is the immigration service and application processing branch; and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), which oversees border protection.