July 29, 2018 at 12:31 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Washington Blade covers Trump immigration policy impact

A newsstand in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on July 10, 2018, sells a Honduran newspaper with a front page devoted to a shootout between police officers and gang members in a San Pedro Sula suburb that left a police officer and two suspected gang members dead. The newspaper also notes the 2018 World Cup semi-final game between France and Belgium (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

PHOENIX — Activists in Central America, Mexico City and in the Southwest U.S. maintain President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy continues to have a significant impact on LGBTI migrants.

Advocates in Honduras and El Salvador with whom the Washington Blade spoke this month described Trump’s policy as “cruel” and “inhumane.” They nevertheless stressed LGBTI migrants who are fleeing rampant violence and discrimination still hope to enter the U.S.

Advocates in Mexico City and in Tijuana said LGBTI migrants from Central America have decided to seek asylum in Mexico — as opposed to the U.S. — because of Trump’s policy. Activists and advocacy groups along the U.S.-Mexico border in California and Arizona are working to provide assistance to LGBTI migrants who are either in their communities or are in ICE custody.

The Blade traveled throughout Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and the Southwest U.S. from July 10-24 to document the impact of Trump’s policy towards LGBTI migrants.

A t-shirt in a street stall in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on July 10, 2018, highlights opposition to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A picture of Roxana Hernández, a transgender Honduran woman with HIV who died in ICE custody in May, hangs on a wall inside the offices of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A sign inside St. Peter the Apostle Cathedral in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, tells parishioners there are security cameras inside the church. Street gangs and drug traffickers have made the city one of the most violent in the world that is not in a war zone. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The American flag flies over the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador, on July 13, 2018. President Trump earlier this year reportedly described El Salvador as a “shithole country.” (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A restaurant in San Salvador, El Salvador, tells customers their weapons are not allowed inside. The country has one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates because of rampant violence associated with MS-13 and other street gangs. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The entrance of Mister Bar, a gay bar in San Salvador, El Salvador, on July 13, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Ever Pacheco, director of Colectivo LGBTI Estrellas del Golfo, an LGBTI advocacy group in La Unión, El Salvador, and his colleague Valeria at their offices on July 14, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

San Salvador, El Salvador, from the slope of Volcán de San Salvador on July 15, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The offices of Mexico City’s Council to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination (COPRED) on July 16, 2018. LGBTI migrants are among the groups on whose behalf COPRED advocates. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Casa de Refugiados is a Mexico City-based organization that works with migrants from Central America, Haiti and other countries who are seeking refuge in Mexico. Casa de Refugiados holds workshops and other events at its facility in Mexico City’s Jardín López Velarde. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Trans Queer Pueblo is a Phoenix-based organization that advocates on behalf of LGBTI migrants. The Washington Blade interviewed four of the organization’s staffers, including a transgender woman from Mexico who was held at the Eloy Detention Center for two weeks in 2015, on July 19, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Arizona State Capitol on July 19, 2018. State lawmakers over the last decade have passed Senate Bill 1070 and other laws that have faced sharp criticism from immigrants rights advocates. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Congresswoman Martha McSally are among those who are running for the seat that U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) will vacate at the end of his term. These campaign signs were along the side of a road in Gila Bend, Ariz., on July 19, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A supermarket in Yuma, Ariz., on July 19, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The U.S.-Mexico border from an overpass over Interstate 8 in California on July 20, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

From left: SMART Recovery USA Imperial County Regional Coordinator Susan Roberta Ireland Mears and Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center CEO Rosa Díaz at the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center’s offices in El Centro, Calif., on July 20, 2018. The city, which is located in California’s Imperial Valley, is roughly 12 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A tractor-trailer drives westbound on Interstate 8 in California’s Imperial Valley on July 20, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The wall that marks the U.S.-Mexico border goes into the Pacific Ocean at Border Field State Park in Imperial Beach, Calif. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Beachgoers in Tijuana, Mexico, were clearly visible through the wall that marks the U.S.-Mexico border from Border Field State Park in Imperial Beach, Calif., on July 20, 2018. A Border Patrol agent stopped this reporter shortly after he took this picture and asked whether anyone passed drugs and/or other items through the gaps. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The pedestrian walkway at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Ysidro, Calif., that leads to Mexico. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The wall that marks the Mexico-U.S. border from the beach in Tijuana, Mexico, on July 20, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

From left: Jorge Luis Villa talks with Andrés Cruz Hernández at Cruz’s office in Tijuana, Mexico, on July 20, 2018. Villa is an activist who works with LGBTI migrants. Cruz is a member of Comunidad Cultural de Tijuana LGBTI AC, a local LGBTI community center. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The sun sets over Interstate 8 east of San Diego on July 20, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A group of LGBTI migrants who entered the U.S. in May and asked for asylum gathered at this coffee shop in Tijuana, Mexico, that is a few hundred yards south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Ysidro, Calif. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A sign in Tijuana, Mexico, tells pedestrians how to walk to the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Ysidro, Calif. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Traffic in Tijuana, Mexico, waits to pass through the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Ysidro, Calif., on July 20, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Imperial is a small city that is located in California’s Imperial Valley. Members of the Imperial City Council earlier this month voted to oppose laws that designate California as a “sanctuary state.” (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A wall that marks the U.S.-Mexico border abuts the parking lot of an outlet mall in Calexico, Calif. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The offices of a lawyer who provides immigration-related services are located inside a restaurant in Calexico, Calif. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A flyer on a wall in Mexicali, Mexico, on July 21, 2018, reads, “Death to Trump!” The city is directly across the Mexico-U.S. border from Calexico, Calif., in California’s Imperial Valley. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Traffic in Mexicali, Mexico, waits to drive through the Calexico Port of Entry into the U.S. on July 21, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A truck drives on a road in Mexicali, Mexico, that parallels the wall that marks the Mexico-U.S. border on July 21, 2018. Homes in Calexico, Calif., are clearly visible through the wall. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a wall in Mexicali, Mexico, on July 21, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Santa Muerte candles for sale at a pharmacy in Mexicali, Mexico, on July 21, 2018. Some believe the deity offers protection to members of the LGBTI community. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Axxel Rodríguez manages Taurino’s Bar and Cantina, a gay bar in Mexicali, Mexico, that is less than a mile from the Mexico-U.S. border. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Porky’s Divine is a gay club in Mexicali, Mexico, that is located three blocks from the Mexico-U.S. border. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A drag queen performs at Porky’s Divine, a gay club in Mexicali, Mexico, on July 22, 2018. The club is three blocks from the Mexico-U.S. border. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A pharmacy in Los Algodones, Mexico, advertises medications for sale on July 22, 2018. The town, which is across the Mexico-U.S. border from Andrade, Calif., is a popular destination for Americans who are looking to purchase medications that cost less than they do in the U.S. A man who works at one of the town’s many pharmacies told the Washington Blade he could get antiretroviral drugs from a supplier. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A pickup truck parked on the Mexican side of the Andrade Port of Entry in Los Algodones, Mexico, on July 22, 2018. The town contains dozens of pharmacies, dentists and optometrists that primarily cater to Americans who are looking for less expensive medications, dental procedures and eye exams. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The open desert along Interstate 8 near Dateland, Ariz., on July 22, 2018. Smugglers, known as “coyotes” or “polleros” in Mexican Spanish, are known for abandoning migrants in the desert without food or water once they enter the U.S. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Florence Detention Center in Florence, Ariz., on July 22, 2018. A number of ICE detainees have died at the facility that is roughly an hour from Phoenix in recent years. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The temperature in Tempe, Ariz., at 2:14 p.m. on July 23, 2018, was 114 degrees.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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