Several human rights groups on Wednesday demanded that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement release all LGBTQ detainees and anyone with HIV in the agency’s custody, saying the U.S. government has repeatedly proved incapable of providing adequate medical and mental-health care to them.
The 14 groups also called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to cancel contracts with privately run detention facilities that they claim are providing poor care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer migrants.
“We know that lack of medical and mental-health care, including lack of HIV care, is the norm,” Roger Coggan, director of legal services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “By the Department of Homeland Security’s own count, 300 individuals identifying as transgender have been in custody and at the mercy of ICE since October of 2018. These cruel incarcerations need to stop immediately.”
ICE has discretion to detain or release migrants while courts consider their immigration case.
“For individuals that ICE has concerns about releasing, be it because of criminal convictions or other reasons, ICE could release them and provide alternatives to detention, which ICE uses in many cases but chooses not to use for trans and gender nonconforming people,” Ola Osaze, director of the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, told reporters Wednesday.
The groups filing the complaint include Familia Trans Queer Liberation Project, Al Otro Lado, Las Americas Immigrant Advocates, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Freedom for Immigrants, Santa Fe Dreamers Project, Southern Poverty Law Center, Immigration Equality, Center for Victims of Torture, National Immigrant Justice Center, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.
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