June 29, 2015

TLDEF Responds to New Guidance Impacting Transgender Immigrants

New York, NY - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund responded to news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had issued new guidance on the treatment of transgender immigrants who are held in its detention centers. The guidance sets forth practices for identifying transgender detainees, processing them, and holding them in ICE detention centers.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“While we welcome the positive step that this guidance represents, it will not solve the problem of mistreatment of transgender immigrants. Transgender detainees in ICE custody face extremely harsh conditions in detention centers, including alarming rates of sexual assault, harassment and abuse, lack of access to health care, and solitary confinement. Transgender women in detention centers are routinely held with men, making them even more vulnerable to assault. Many transgender immigrants are seeking asylum in the U.S., having endured abuse in their countries of origin for being transgender, only to be subjected to further pain and suffering at the hands of ICE. It is an untenable situation that must be addressed now.

“We must stop the mass detention of transgender immigrants who are simply seeking to live safely in the U.S. Detention places them in danger and undercuts the fabric of our nation’s values. This guidance promises a measure of better treatment for those currently held in detention facilities, but it will not solve the problem. We join the many advocates and members of Congress who are focused on a real solution: strictly limiting or eliminating detention for transgender immigrants. We must do more as a nation to protect our most vulnerable.”