LGBT immigrants in detention centers face abuse, discrimination

LGBT immigrants in detention centers face abuse, discrimination

Immigration officials at the Tri-County Detention Center in Ullin, Ill., refused to provide HIV treatment for an undocumented immigrant while in custody, and another undocumented transgender immigrant was arbitrarily held in solitary confinement for 49 days at Eloy Immigration Detention Center in Arizona, according to four complaints filed Monday to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The National Immigrant Justice Center filed the complaints on behalf of four gay and transgender inmates who say they suffered abuse while detained. In the last six months, the Chicago-based nonprofit has filed 13 other complaints about inhumane treatment of sexual minorities while in immigration custody.

The complaints listed conditions at Tri-County Detention Center, McHenry County Jail, Kenosha County Detention Center in Wisconsin and Boone County Jail–all of which are within the jurisdiction of the immigration agency’s Chicago office–and nine other facilities California, Kentucky,and  New Mexico.

Alexis, whose last name was redacted from the complaint to protect his privacy, was placed in immigration custody on Sept. 14 after he was arrested for driving without a license in Lexington, Ky. He had been diagnosed with HIV two months prior to his arrest.  He alerted two nurses at Boone County Jail that he was HIV positive and needed treatment, but he never received treatment, according to the complaint.

He was transported to Tri-County Detention Center 15 days later. His medical care has not improved since he was moved. He insisted he needed HIV treatment and also complained about pain in his genitals and rectal bleeding, but he has not received treatment, the complaint said.

Officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not answer The Chicago Reporter’s request for comment by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Since the initial 13 complaints were filed in April, more immigrants came forward, according to the National Immigration Justice Center.

The complaints report rape, sexual violence, misuse of segregation and punitive conditions in solitary confinement, discrimination and humiliation by the guards, and denial of HIV treatment and hormone therapy.

“These latest reports highlight that abuse of vulnerable populations remains a systemic, pervasive problem in the immigration detention system,” Mary Meg McCarthy, National Immigrant Justice Center’s executive director said in a written statement. “It is unlawful for the U.S. government to detain individuals that it cannot protect.”

Photo: Flickr

© Community Renewal Society 2011


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  • So now we have supposedly protected subclasses of protected subclasses, in this case homosexual illegal immigrants.

    There is an Eighth Amendment issue here, but if so. let the federal court deal with it. And then deport the people in the subsubclass.

  • Heres a wild idea, how about deporting them. So now they are here spreading diseases and crime. We need immigrants who are assets and not liabilities.

  • Thanks to the people who help other people in cases like this one. And for the people who think they should deport them because they are HIV+ let me tell you this: They are wrong becauses no only immigrants with HIV spread this deases in this country. So many people they even know they have this deases.

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