But that’s exactly what’s been happening at several immigration detention facilities, and that’s exactly why the Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center filed suit against the Homeland Security department alleging civil rights violations against gay and trans gender immigrants. Here’s the report:
Alliance leaders said the allegations go beyond mistreatment by a few guards. They include blanket policies against the immigrants such as the rule at Theo Lacey that keeps all gay and transgender immigrants confined to their cells for 22 hours and the practice at a Santa Ana, Calif., jail that denies hormone treatments to transgender immigrants. The complaints were filed on behalf of men and women currently or recently detained in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Some have been granted asylum or have been released to pursue asylum appeals.
In some cases, according to the suit, gay or trans gender detainees spent as little as 45 minutes outside of their cell. And in one case, at the Theo Lacy facility in California, when a gay man asked his jailer why the dayroom hours had been cut for gays and transgenders, the jailer replied:
“Because you need to learn not to be a [gay slur].”
The general worry is that Homeland Security has lost its authority over its own staff at the detention centers.
“It has become clear that the Department of Homeland Security is incapable of ensuring safe and nonpunitive conditions for sexual minorities,” said Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of Heartland Alliance.
Here’s a list of the detention centers named in the complaint;
Theo Lacy Facility, Santa Ana City Jail, Mira Loma Detention Center and El Centro Processing Center in California; Houston Processing Center, IAH Polk County Detention Center and Willacy County Processing Center, Texas; Florence Service Processing Center and Eloy Detention Center in Arizona; Otero County Detention Center, New Mexico; Kenosha County Detention Center, Wisconsin; McHenry County Jail, Illinois; La Salle Detention Center, Louisiana; and York County Detention Center, Pennsylvania.
Follow Victor Ladna on Twitter: @vlanda
[Photo by Takver]
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