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12/2: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Confirms Transgender Immigrants Will Not Be Housed at Adelanto Detention Facility
Released 27 December 2015  By Loretta Kane, Camino PR The National LGBTQ Immigration Working Group

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Confirms Transgender Immigrants Will Not Be Housed at Adelanto Detention Facility
Following months long campaign, advocates recommit to end LGBTQ detention nationwide

December 2, 2015

Loretta Kane, Camino PR The National LGBTQ Immigration Working Group

Washington, D.C. -- The National LGBTQ Immigration Working Group welcomes the news that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has halted its disturbing plan to transfer and isolate transgender women at the segregated, corporation-run Adelanto Detention Facility in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. The isolated facility would have made it very difficult for detained individuals to access legal counsel, with Los Angeles, the location of the nearest legal community, a four hour round-trip drive away. LGBTQ immigrants in detention without an attorney have only a 3 percent chance of winning asylum.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health worked alongside over 100 civil and human rights organizations, including Immigration Equality, National Center for Transgender Equality, and United We Dream to run a campaign to stop the transfer that garnered national attention from the media and members of Congress.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement:

“We welcome the news from ICE that they will no longer pursue using Adelanto Detention Facility in California as a center for detaining transgender immigrants. This privately-run immigration facility has a history of reported civil and human rights abuses, and to think that ICE officials even considered transferring transgender women to further isolation and into harm’s way is simply cruel and unacceptable.

“We take this decision as a big victory for our community, while remaining committed to working with our partners across the country to advocate on behalf of all immigrants who are subjected to our country’s arbitrary and inhumane detention practices. Simply put, there is no facility that can ensure that the dignity and rights of immigrants are protected. We must put an end to a system that inflicts pain and retraumatizes the most vulnerable in our community, breaks families apart, and fuels one of the largest mass incarceration movements of our time.”

On June 23rd, a congressional letter endorsed by 35 U.S. House of Representatives called on Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), for an end to detention of LGBTQ people and alternatives to detention as the only safe option for LGBTQ immigrants.

On August 24th, a letter signed by over 100 organizations across the U.S. was delivered to the White House, DHS, and ICE, condemning the Adelanto plan by citing reports of abuses including solitary confinement, denial of medical care, and pervasive sexual harassment by GEO Group, the same for-profit corporation that runs the Adelanto facility. Adelanto Detention Facility’s documented failure to prevent or address sexual assault was a particular concern for advocates, who pointed to the fact that transgender women in detention experience sexual assault at 13 times the rate of all persons in detention facilities according to a frequently cited California study.

Adelanto has become the fourth immigrant detention facility in the United States where detainees have gone on hunger strike in recent weeks, refusing food to protest the worsening conditions at the facility.

Advocates are relieved by the news that transgender women, who are particularly vulnerable in detention, will not be segregated in such a dangerous and isolated facility. However, the essential work of local advocates, which laid the foundation for our national advocacy, continues. The community in Southern California — leaders from Friends of Adelanto, the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition, the LGBT Center Orange County, and others — continues to work to bring justice to those still detained in inhumane conditions at Adelanto Detention Facility and in the state of California.

Link to the National LGBTQ Immigration Working Group endorsement letter:

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