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How are transgender immigrants treated by ICE? What Transgender Means

With the recent court decision regarding same-sex marriage, the LGBT community is getting a lot of attention. The T in LGBT stands for transgender, and this term is used to describe someone who’s gender identity does not match their biological sex.  Your biological sex is the designation you are given regarding your anatomy, whereas gender is believed to be an identity. This means that you can be a biological male, but identify yourself as a female.  This would make you a transgender individual.  It is believed that there are 700,000 transgender American citizens, which is .3% of the adult population.

Transgender Immigrants in ICE Detention

Now what role does this play in immigration?  It is believed that, on any given night, there are 75 transgender immigrants in ICE detention.  While this is a very small percentage of all of those detained, this group tends to be at a very high risk for mistreatment.  1 in 5 cases of sexual abuse reported by those in ICE detention is committed against a member of the transgender community.  It has also been shown that transgender detainees spend longer stints in solitary confinement, transphobia, and denial of both medication and hormones.

ICE has made attempts to change this recently, releasing a memo that announced several changes to its policies.  The first statement the memo made was to announce that discrimination or harassment of any kind based on a detainee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is strictly prohibited.  But talk can be cheap right?  The physical changes that the memo announces are better accommodations, and special liaisons to promote better awareness of LGBT issues.  The accommodation changes are based primarily on forming separate housing blocks, meaning transgender individuals may choose whether they would like to be housed with the men or the women.  The liaisons are meant to ensure that the needs of the LGBT detainees are heard, and also that awareness of this community is spread.

However, a lot of LGBT advocates are claiming that this is simply not enough.  They are claiming that there is still a stigma with regards to not just transgender immigrants, but the LGBT community as a whole.  With regards to immigration, however, this memo and these changes are a step in the right direction.  The thing with taking a step in the right direction though is that you still have to walk the rest of the path.

Free Resources Available for You

If you face an immigration challenge we have some valuable resources for you:

  1. Do You Qualify for Legal Status?  If you aren’t legal in the U.S. you owe it to yourself to find out if you can get legal status.  Select the link, answer the questions, and find out for FREE.
  2. Do You Need an Immigration Attorney? You Might Not  I will explain when you need an immigration attorney.  Not everyone needs one.  I will also explain the benefits of hiring one in any immigration challenge.
  3. 7 Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Immigration Attorney  If you have decided that you need an immigration attorney, how do you make sure you hire a good one?  I explain to you the questions you need to ask before you hire your immigration attorney.
  4. An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court Here I discuss what happens if you get arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement, what you need to know to get out of custody, and what to expect if you are placed in removal hearings.  I also explain the municipal court process and how a municipal court matter can result in your being placed into removal proceedings.

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