Following reports of violent and demeaning treatment of transgender women seeking asylum at the US border, including news of a shelter in which the women were staying in Tijuana, Mexico having been set on fire, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) issued the following statement:

The horrifying treatment of the transgender women who have traveled to our border seeking a reprieve from violence should be utterly unacceptable to every American.

Our core American ideals of liberty, democracy, and human rights require us to offer refuge to those who face severe threats in their home countries.  Asylum is a life-saving system that is designed precisely to protect the extremely vulnerable. We have a responsibility to ensure that system is open and available to those who need it, including transgender people and other members of the LGBT community forced to flee places where they are fundamentally unsafe because of who they are.

We urge US Border Patrol to allow entry for all of these women and for the others who have traveled at great risk as part of the refugee caravan, to allow them the fair opportunity to make their case for asylum, and to ensure their safety and dignified treatment while their applications are processed.