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New Documentary Highlights Transgender ICE Detainees

July 10, 2012

Re-posted from Immigration Equality

Documentary Outlines Deplorable Treatment of Transgender ICE Detainees

July 9, 2012 / by Cora Lively

They put me back again… they put me in that box.”

A former ICE detainee named Norma opens the documentary Transgression with a few chilling words from her story. The documentary, produced in part by former Immigration Equality Policy Fellow Daniel Rotman, paints a distressing picture of the deplorable treatment of transgender people in detention and the complexities of a system that often places asylum seekers in punitive facilities. The film focuses on the experience of Norma, a transgender woman from Mexico who gives a troubling account of fleeing to the U.S. to escape violence, only to spend months in solitary confinement in an ICE detention facility.

Norma’s experience is not uncommon for transgender individuals in ICE detention. ICE will often place transgender individuals in housing based on their anatomical sex, a policy which poses a threat to their safety. Due to this vulnerability, transgender detainees are often placed in “administrative segregation” by ICE, which is a form of solitary confinement. Immigration Equality receives calls from transgender individuals in ICE detention who face months of 23 hour a day solitary confinement and other problems such as lack of adequate health care, abuse and harassment. Our legal team has fought for immediate release in many cases similar to Norma’s. One such case was featured in a piece in The Advocate last spring, in which a transgender woman named Dulce spent eight months in solitary confinement in a Virginia detention center.

Immigration Equality continues to help individuals like Norma and Dulce by providing legal services to those in detention and asking the Department of Homeland Security to secure the safety and well-being of all individuals in detention facilities.

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