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More Complaints on Treatment of LGBT Refugee and Immigrant Detainees

More Complaints on Treatment of LGBT Refugee and Immigrant Detainees

Complaints filed this week show that some LGBT detainees who are refugees, asylum seekers or undocumented are being subjected to inhuman, degrading and in some cases life-threatening treatment.

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) has filed four more complaints with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), taking it to 17 filed since April.

All of these individuals are seeking protection from persecution in their native countries.

In one new case, a detainee was denied HIV treatment, which can be life-threatening.

Alexis* was detained at Boone County Jail, Kentucky, for two weeks in September then moved to Tri-County Detention Center, Illinois, where he remains. He immediately informed nurses that he was HIV+ and that he believed he had herpes. He has been seen by one doctor but in a public setting where it was unsafe to discuss his HIV status and a private exam was refused. He has still not been given HIV medication despite repeated requests to nurses and at Boone he was denied toothpaste, a toothbrush and soap for a fortnight.

Another new complaint tells of a transgender individual who was arbitrarily held in solitary confinement for 49 days.

The 13 complaints filed in April by NIJC detail instances of rape, sexual violence, misuse of segregation and punitive conditions in solitary confinement, denial of HIV treatment and hormone therapy, as well as pervasive discrimination and humiliation by guards on account of individuals’ sexual orientation and gender identity.

“These latest reports highlight that abuse of vulnerable populations remains a systemic, pervasive problem in the immigration detention system,” said NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy.

“It is unlawful for the U.S. government to detain individuals that it cannot protect.”

One transgender woman detained in California was abused and singled out for public searches where guards forced her to remove her outer clothing and mocked her exposed breasts.

Both transgender and lesbian or gay people in immigration detention are often segregated and kept in cells for 22 hours per day. They have far less access to recreation compared with the general detainee population. When this transgender woman asked why she could have recreation access for only a couple of hours she was abused by a guard, told it was to “teach her not to be transgender.” When she asked for toilet paper she was abused.

Transferred to a jail, she suffered further mistreatment and discrimination, including denial of access to a doctor.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released government documents this week containing 185 allegations of sexual abuse against female immigration detainees in federal detention centers since 2007.

Many of these women are refugees fleeing persecution including torture and rape.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) explicitly excludes immigration detention facilities from coverage under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

ACLU has provided detailed narratives by three women describing sexual assaults by guards whilst they were being transported in prison vans.

Human Rights Watch released a report last August that documented sex crimes committed in detention centers across eight states.

Since 9/11, the detainee population has increased from 7,500 people per day in 1995 to approximately 33,000 per day in 2010. With few dedicated immigration detention centers available to house the growing number of detainees, authorities began renting out beds in a variety of facilities primarily used for housing criminal convicts under very restrictive conditions.

Often these facilities are in remote areas, restricting access to legal help. The intermingling and eventual conflation of civil and criminal detainees pushed immigration detention towards the highly punitive model prevalent today. Today nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers are detained every year.

*Name changed.

 

Related Stories:

Rand Paul Stops Blocking Lifesaving Refugee Welfare

Sexual Abuse of US Refugee Detainees Pervasive

Jail is No Place for US Immigration Detainees

 

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14 comments

+ add your own
9:31AM PST on Nov 15, 2011

The sign says it all -- "Love is a human right" -- thank you AI. Since straights are the majority, it is up to us to stand beside our LGBT brothers and sisters, and change the minds of conservs. All people deserve to have a good life in this world -- LGBTs do nothing to harm the lives of conservs, and they should live and let live.

3:29PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Well, when gay bashing is an integral part of the Christian, Catholic AND Muslim religions what do you expect? When the Pope gay bashes in every one of his speeches do you think maybe
a few people are going to LISTEN to HIM? Right there is the "system", it's all these religions with their fairy tale gods and pie heavens. Ya, let's fix the SYSTEM.

11:14AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

There's a lot of blaming of the guards... How about blaming the system that treats trans people as garbage? The system that's specifically designed & dedicated to denying they are even human.

You can't claim there's a human rights violation, if the being being violated & abused, isn't even seen as human now.

I've known a fair number of Trans people, some of which have been to jail. And in most cases, these people have been abused in ways that would horrify beyond belief.

ALL because the system is designed first & foremost, to deny humanity to anyone who doesn't toe the line, or worse, isn't able to, because their mere existence obliterates it.

10:16AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

All the time that the authorities hire psychopathic goons to work in the public sector, as a way to scare off people seeking sanctuary from the treatment they received where they came from - as they do in most Conservatively (fascist) run countries (including Canada) - you will have lots of non-functional 'jobs for the nasty boys and girls.'

Perhaps the Wall Street sit in, or whatever it's called, should be extended to full revolution in terms of the way we are all governed by these inhumane bully boys.

Do I hear Mr. Harper's goons at my door?

10:16AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

All the time that the authorities hire psychopathic goons to work in the public sector, as a way to scare off people seeking sanctuary from the treatment they received where they came from - as they do in most Conservatively (fascist) run countries (including Canada) - you will have lots of non-functional 'jobs for the nasty boys and girls.'

Perhaps the Wall Street sit in, or whatever it's called, should be extended to full revolution in terms of the way we are all governed by these inhumane bully boys.

Do I hear Mr. Harper's goons at my door?

9:37AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

noted

8:30AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Interesting article.

7:42AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

These are not guards. They are thugs. Common criminals who should be thrown into general population & subjected to the same horrors they're inflicting on these innocents who
should NOT be detained in the first place. What the hell is wrong w/ this country? How
do we have the nerve to condemn other countries when we're equally as guilty when it
comes to human rights abuses? Democracy? That word, for myself, in regard to this country
has died.

7:15AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Can't add a thing to Willliam K.'s comment. A horrific situation to be sure.

Maybe these guards should get some training in basic human rights and dignity before they are given any responsibility.....let's say....Oh, I dont know....maybe spend a couple weeks in a detention cell, isolated, denied basic needs, verbally abused...maybe they would learn a thing or two??

5:50AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

"rights" are "rights." What the HELL is so hard to get about THAT?!

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