Lopez Berera v. Holder


Lambda Legal and a group of organizations that advocate for the rights of people living with HIV, including HIV-affected immigrants, filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Lopez Berera v. Holder, urging the Court to grant asylum to Karolina Lopez Berera, a transgender Mexican woman living with HIV/AIDS. The brief highlights country condition reports, media accounts, and studies that document the persecution, discrimination and neglect that transgender individuals, especially transgender people living with HIV/AIDS, face in critical HIV-related health care services in Mexico.  Since transgender people are deliberately excluded from access to, and the delivery of, HIV medications, Ms. Lopez Berera will not have access to life-saving medications.  In addition, the brief discusses how Ms. Lopez Berera’s HIV status places her in great danger of persecution because people living with HIV in Mexico are frequently the victims of hate crimes.

Joining Lambda Legal on the amicus brief were: the American Civil Liberties Union, the HIV Law Project, AIDS Legal Council, Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, East Bay Community Law Center, HIV & AIDS Legal Services Alliance, and the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis.


  • November 2011 Lambda Legal files amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in Lopez Berera v. Holder, urging the Court to reconsider her request for asylum based on her identity as a transgender woman living with HIV.
  • April 9, 2012 Victory! The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issues an order remanding Ms. Lopez Berera’s asylum case back to Board of Immigration Appeals for reconsideration, and stays Ms. Lopez Berera’s deportation. Ms. Lopez Berera is also released from an immigration detention facility where she had been detained pending the outcome of her asylum claim for more than two years.

Case Information

Status: Closed


Lambda Legal
Iván Espinoza-Madrigal

Winston & Strawn LLP
Peter E. Perkowski