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Advocacy Groups Call for ICE to Release all Transgender Detainees

Advocacy Groups Call for ICE to Release all Transgender Detainees

Numerous advocacy groups have called on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release all transgender detainees. The following groups were among those that sent a signed letter to Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence and Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf:

  • The Human Rights Campaign
  • Immigration Equality
  • Whitman-Walker Health
  • The Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • The National LGBTQ Task Force
  • The National Immigrant Justice Center
  • The Santa Fe Dreamers Project
  • Trans Queer Pueblo
  • The TransLatin@ Coalition
  • Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)

The letter was a direct response to the case of a trans woman named Kelly González Aguila who has been held in ICE custody for over two years despite being eligible for parole. Aguila is an immigrant from Honduras.

According to the letter, González’s gender identity forced her to “experience violence and hatred since” childhood. The letter also describes how ICE kept her in solitary confinement “for months” in a detention center in Louisiana “for no reason other than her gender identity.” After spending more than 600 days in ICE detention, Aguila’s “physical and mental well-being continues to deteriorate,” writes advocacy groups that signed the letter.

Under a 2015 memorandum, trans detainees have the right to identify themselves based on their gender identity on data forms. The directive also calls for a “respectful, safe, and secure environment for trans detainees,” as well as access to hormone therapy and other types of trans-specific health care.

Despite these provisions, advocate groups have cited “inadequate medical care and staffers who ‘psychologically and verbally’ mistreat” trans detainees held at Cibola County Correctional Center and the Otero County Processing Center.

On May 25, 2018, Roxsana Hernández, a trans Honduran with HIV, died in ICE custody after being detained by officers. She was briefly detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center before she was eventually sent to a hospital in Albuquerque, NM, where she passed away.

Johana “Joa” Medina León, a trans woman from El Salvador, died at an El Paso, Texas, hospital on June 1, 2019. Her death came just three days after she was released from the Otero County Processing Center.

Have you or loved one been detained by ICE? If so, our experienced lawyers at Musa-Obregon Law PC are here to use our skills and knowledge of the law to fight for the rights of our clients. Give us a call today at (888) 502-8461 to request your case consultation.


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