Lawyers call for, “immediate transfer to a Protective Care Unit for transgender women”


Dozens of trans-women in the US are being detained in all-male, for-profit detention centres under Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or “ICE.”

Many of these women were lawfully migrating from South to Central America to request asylum as a result of gender identity-based persecution, however ICE has confined the detainees in male populations, thus putting these women at risk of sexual and physical violence, as well as harassment and neglect.

The facilities do not provide trans women with proper medical care and staff are unequipped to provide resources to meet these women’s needs.

Budget cuts have meant delays in the processing of asylum applications, and due to this, trans women may be spending over a year in detention centres.

US based lawyers representing six of the women who are detained in all-male units in Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, and California are fighting for their release and demanding that ICE parole women who qualify for parole, as they are no threat to national security.

In their demand letter to ICE, the lawyers call for: 

• “Reconsideration of parole denials for women who qualify for parole because they have a positive credible fear interview and are neither a flight risk nor a threat to national security.”

• “Immediate transfer to the Protective Care Unit in Cibola County, NM, or if there is no bed space or a quarantine in Cibola, to an alternative Protective Care Unit for transgender women.” 

The facilities in Cibola County comply with the terms of ICE’s Transgender Care Memo, an agreement to provide a safe and secure environment for transgender detainees, and to ensure that the required medical care is available; terms which the all-male detention centres fail to meet.

So far, multiple trans women have elected to move back to their home country – where the risk of persecution continues – due to the intolerable daily harassment and violence that they were subjected to in all-male confinement.

One more trans woman has also lost her life under the custody of ICE, demonstrating just how essential it is that immediate action is taken.

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