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ICE Guidelines Tackles Trans Rights in Detention Centers

handcuffs-219261_1280One of the more controversial immigration issues that continue to draw the attention of the American public is the detention procedures enacted by U.S. immigration authorities. Several areas of concern crop up whenever the subject of detention is mentioned. One of the areas of concern that immigrants and human rights advocates focus on revolves around the treatment of transgender detainees who are in immigration detention centers. In the past, authorities of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement have come under fire for the alleged treatment that transgender detainees were exposed to. Now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have come forward with an expressed commitment to safeguarding the rights of transgender detainees.

Recently, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office has released updated guidelines that deal with detention procedures. A part of these guidelines explicitly cover concerns regarding the treatment of transgender detainees. The publicized guidelines include statements that prohibit against harassment and discrimination while the detainees are in detention centers. “Discrimination or harassment of any kind based on a detainee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is strictly prohibited,” according to the new guidelines. One of the significant updates in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention guidelines covers the procedure involving transgender immigrants. The major additions include orders that officials should ask transgender immigrant detainees whether they would prefer to be detained with men or women.

The script used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials when they deal with transgender immigrants has been fashioned to draw out voluntary responses from the detainees. The decision to disclose one’s gender identity solely lies with the detainee. Officials of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office are also encouraged to ask transgender detainees about their requirements that surround medical issues, grooming requirements, preferred usage of pronouns, etc.

The published guidelines may be seen as a response to the demands of human rights groups who are concerned with the treatment that transgender immigrants are exposed to once they have been detained. Incidents surrounding rape and abuse have hounded transgender detainees. The previous response that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have taken when it comes to dealing with these detainees was to place them in solitary confinement. A study conducted in 2009 revealed that about 59 percent of transgender detainees were sexually assaulted in all – male prison centers. None of the respondents who participated in the study trusted the guards to protect them while they are being detained.

Cases involving immigrants and detention require the knowledge of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.