ICE’s Rejection of Its Own Rules Is Placing LGBT Immigrants at Severe Risk of Sexual Abuse

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This news article is relevant for humanitarian practitioners working on the Mexico/US border, and for those working with diverse SOGIESC immigrants/asylum seekers/refugees more broadly. By pointing to the implications of policies--and of ignoring protection policies--this article highlights important areas of human rights abuse.

This 2018 article from the Center for American Progress discusses the ways in which the United States’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is contributing to an environment of violence and insecurity for queer asylum seekers on the Mexico/US border. The article opens with a case study on a queer asylum seeker who reported sexual assault at the hands of a detention centre guard, and the way in which the case was handled. The article then provides an overview of the high levels of sexual assault perpetrated against LGBT immigrants in detention, and specifically looks at the case for trans immigrants.

The article points out that ICE is violating its own rules: trans immigrants have the right to individualised placement determination, but ICE continues to place trans immigrants in solitary confinement, and places trans women in all-male facilities. The article then discusses the importance of ending this type of prolonged solitary confinement and overall detention.

The article concludes by pointing to the ways the Trump administration’s indefinite detention policy has led to ‘horrifically high rates of sexual abuse and solitary confinement of LGBT immigrants.’

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"ICE is placing LGBT immigrants in harm’s way by not releasing them from detention when they should be and has reverted to its practice of detaining transgender women with men or in solitary confinement, contrary to its own rules."

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This 2018 article from the Center for American Progress discusses the ways in which the United States’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is contributing to an environment of violence and insecurity for queer asylum seekers on the Mexico/US border. The article opens with a case study on a queer asylum seeker who reported sexual assault at the hands of a detention centre guard, and the way in which the case was handled. The article then provides an overview of the high levels of sexual assault perpetrated against LGBT immigrants in detention, and specifically looks at the case for trans immigrants.

The article points out that ICE is violating its own rules: trans immigrants have the right to individualised placement determination, but ICE continues to place trans immigrants in solitary confinement, and places trans women in all-male facilities. The article then discusses the importance of ending this type of prolonged solitary confinement and overall detention.

The article concludes by pointing to the ways the Trump administration’s indefinite detention policy has led to ‘horrifically high rates of sexual abuse and solitary confinement of LGBT immigrants.’