June 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
ICE issues guidance for trans immigrants in detention
Jennicet Gutiérrez, gay news, Washington Blade`

Jennicet Gutiérrez hackled President Obama last week over the treatment of transgender people in immigration detention. (Photo by Melissa Sklarz)

The agency of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants unveiled new guidance on Monday for a “respectful, safe and secure environment” for transgender people in immigration detention.

The 18-page memorandum, dated June 19 and signed by Thomas Homan, executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations within the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, spells out new instructions to update data systems, identification and processing and housing placement for transgender detainees.

Additionally, the guidance announces the creation of a new national ERO LGBTI coordinator, who’ll coordinate care of LGBT people in detention. Also on Monday, each of the 24 ERO Field Offices are set to designate local LGBT field liaisons to serve as resources for officers, DHS announced.

In a statement, Homan said the memo “reaffirms ICE’s commitment to provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all those in our custody, including those individuals who identify as transgender.”

“We want to make sure our employees have the tools and resources available to learn more about how to interact with transgender individuals and ensure effective standards exist to house and care for them throughout the custody cycle,” Homan added.

Under the new guidance, officials are required to enable detainees to identify as transgender on data forms. For detainees that identify as transgender, officials are instructed to consider detention that has medical personnel with experience in providing care, including hormone therapy, to transgender people. Placement into a segregated unit should only be used as a last resort when no other temporary housing exists.

Richard Rocha, an ICE spokesperson, said the administration shared the guidance first with officers and close non-governmental organizations stakeholders, but held off until now to publicize the change.

The memo is made public after more than 30 House Democrats led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last week and called for an update to policy for transgender detainees, saying the current system leaves transgender immigrants vulnerable to abuse.

Also last week, Jennicet Gutiérrez, an undocumented transgender immigrants and activist affiliated with GetEQUAL and FAMILIA TQLM, heckled President Obama for a two-minute period during the annual White House Pride reception last week and was later escorted out of the event. In an op-ed for the Washington Blade, Gutiérrez said she interrupted Obama to draw attention to harsh treatment of trans people in immigration detention.

In a joint statement, the National Immigrant Justice Center, National Center for Transgender Equality, United We Dream, Immigration Equality and Human Rights Campaign, welcomed the guidance, but said the Obama administration must do more to protect LGBT immigrants.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, the National Center for Transgender Equality’s racial and economic justice initiative policy advisor, said the time has come for the Obama administration to release transgender detainees altogether.

“ICE’s guidelines finally acknowledges what we’ve known for a long time: Transgender people cannot be held safely in detention,” Freedman-Gurspan said. “Though the guidance represents a significant improvement in how transgender immigration detainees will be treated, ICE’s record on implementing guidance such as this is mixed. To really end the suffering transgender detainees face, the Obama administration must release transgender detainees for whom being in detention makes them a target of sexual assault and violence.”

According to the National Immigrant Justice Center, the guidance is step forward, but falls short because it says nothing about gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals in immigration detention, allows for continued use of solitary confinement for detainees and has insufficient detail on implementation.

Keren Zwick, managing attorney for NIJC’s LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative, said she guidance is a positive step, but “the devil is in the details.”

“We continue to have significant concern that the implementation of this guidance will be slow, insufficient, and that it will result in hubbing transgender women in remote areas where they cannot have meaningful access to counsel,” Zwick said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

1 Comment
  • SO FAR I HAVE NOT BEEN BRAINWASHED BY NBC OR THE LIBERAL OR
    CORPORATE RUN MEDIA?

    Every American should bear this in mind, when the time
    comes to vote again–a quote of Margaret Thatcher (The Iron Lady), the British Prime
    Minster of England 1925-2013.

    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out
    of other peoples’ money”.

    HOW TRUE THAT IS? Wow, how true that quote is especially
    under President Obama’s Liberal Socialist Doctrine, that millions of people and
    this equally applies to unknown numbers of illegal
    aliens, who under this Obama’s Imperial rule has not only allowed illegal aliens to enter this country
    without apprehension, his weak policies have signaled to the world, that if you
    can arrive here—we will process you and take you in. There by adding to
    millions of welfare recipients. Worse still is his complete and ignorant stand
    on ISIL, a very abhorrent gang of butchers that must be eradicated from this
    earth. We are standing on the brink of a modest communist agenda and this to must
    be obliterated. After my loyal service of 26 years in the Merchant Marine, I am
    certainly not rich but have enough to live on in benefits and assets that I
    earned with hard work. So far I haven’t been brainwashed by the radical left. Since
    the election of this President who thinks he is a king and we are his peons, he
    and his court have taken more power from the states and the people, with more
    control over the individual—each citizen and legal resident.

    In 2016, unless we erase this“Give me something for
    nothing” ideology of Obama’s, America will become
    a “Third World Hellhole” as Ann Coulter states on the front of her New York
    Blockbuster book “Adios America”. Only the
    American voters can decide which direction we should go? Never did I dream of
    this shameful administration I voted into power. I myself marked an X so to
    speak for Obama. Myself, I am voting this time for entrepreneur and businessman
    Donald Trump, unless of course he
    starts to fade. Then next in line Senator Ted Cruz or a lady with the right
    stuff Carly
    Fiorina. Then of course anybody who fits into the grading system of NumbersUSA
    and they should click on http://www.numbersusa.Com/
    Scott Walker has a first class grading measurement of B-. On my part there will
    be no vote for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders or Jeb Bush all need to be mothballed.
    No more Career Politicians, who are tied to the same brush on Immigration; a
    path to citizenship. Thousands of people wait in line for years from all over
    the world, but this administration has more loyalty to illegal aliens, then
    this nation’s people or legal immigrants.

    AVERAGE AMERICAN VOTERS ARE TOO
    AFRAID AND COWER IN DARK CORNERS OWING TO ‘POLITICAL CORRECT POLICE’.

    YES! AND I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BY AN
    ILLEGAL ALIEN AND A LEGAL IMMIGRANT, BUT THE MORONS TRY TO MERGE THE TWO NAMES
    TOGETHER? ONLY SOMEBODY WITH AN EMPTY CRANIUM WOULD CONFUSE WHAT THE
    TERMINOLOGY MEANS? ILLEGAL—IS—ILLEGAL!

    Our federal
    government wishes to be personally involved in every aspect of our lives. They
    think they know what’s best when it comes to health-care, insurance, and our
    earnings. The government has no problem with incarcerating thousands of
    Americans for petty crimes, but the illegal aliens cannot be held but for six
    months. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is regularly releasing dangerous
    criminals. Now we have found out just how dangerous this move was. The Washington time reported USICE put felons illegally
    back to litter our streets, instead of deporting them. These are brutal
    criminals that Homeland Security knew they would commit more crimes once the
    government gave them amnesty (the failure to deport 195.00 illegal aliens or
    detain them IS amnesty?). Now at least
    121 law abiding people, folks that thought the government was protecting them,
    are now dead.

    Me, I am
    going to take my chances with a Donald Trump the Billionaire, who as President
    cannot be intimidated, or given hush money. The Crony Capitalism of buying
    votes in Congress has no effect on Trump? My family’s personal opinion and many
    of my friends doesn’t care if he has a giant ego; whether he is arrogant or
    bloody minded as long he puts America back on track. As for the UniVision
    debacle and NBC, I don’t watch either media, so a majority of Americans don’t
    care. They are irrelevant to me. He speaks directly to the working man and
    doesn’t hold back. Sealing the US/ Mexican that border is one of his
    major issues, that he has stipulated will be on his desk the first days of his
    administration. He demands that the Mexican government will recompense us.

    If Mexican
    authorities don’t agree to pay, then American taxpayers will have to shell out
    for the construction of a border wall? In the long run, it would pay for itself
    as hundreds of billions of dollars would be saved when illegal aliens would be
    arrested, including ‘Overstays’ and sent home. Under Obama and the Socialist
    more spending, more taxes to bleed incessantly from taxpayers, to pay welfare
    to illegal aliens and the growing volume of food stamps to parasitic Americans
    who cringe at the word work. Trump will renegotiate all significantly bad Trade
    Agreements, including NAFTA. It swallows
    our money, for goods made across the border. If corporate taxes were lowered
    from 39 percent, transnational entities would prefer to came back and bring
    trillions of dollars to our banks.

    If you are searching for the unrestrained truth and not the
    rhetoric or propaganda from the GOP establishment or the Democrats, then click
    on http://www.judicialwatch.org/ this is
    unbiased review of legal, non-profit foundation that blatantly tells you the
    facts about corruption in Federal, state and local government. In many
    instances this administration and Congress ‘believe they are above the law’,
    but Judicial Watch carefully examines the law and will take them to court to be
    held accountable? The American News network, http://www.oann.com.a
    7/24 cable broadcast offers world wide news, and not the prejudiced, misleading
    partisan news that has leanings of either Democrats, liberal or even the career
    Republicans.

    INCIDENTALLY,
    FROM MY HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE I ALWAYS THOUGHT THE SUPREME COURT WAS TO DECIDE
    LAW AND NOT WRITE LAW AS THE EDICTS OF THE US CONSTITUTION SUPPLIES? WRITING LAWS WAS UP TO THE US CONGRESS AND NOT A BLACK ROBED JUDGES
    WHO ARE USING THEIR OWN AGENDA, TO MAKE LAW?

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.