For Immediate Release
July 6, 2015
Contact: Olga Tomchin, firstname.lastname@example.org
LGBTQ & Immigrant Rights Groups React to ICE Announcement of Plans to Transfer Transgender Women to For-Profit Immigration Prison Already Abusing People with Disabilities and Asylum-Seekers
Los Angeles, CA—Days after a coalition of immigrant rights groups launched a campaign exposing abuses against people with disabilities and asylum seekers at the infamous Adelanto immigration prison in the Mojave Desert, US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the impending transfer of a group of trans women to that same for-profit GEO Group facility.
The #FreeAdelanto4 campaign, launched last week, highlights the inhumane currently occurring at Adelanto.
Gerardo Corrales (A#205-464-990) is a paralyzed 19 year old who uses a wheelchair. Gerardo requires catheters and has been forced to reuse them by Adelanto staff, resulting in a serious infection and ization. He depends entirely on other detained men to help him wash himself, use the bathroom, and change his clothes. His wheelchair has three main screws that hold it together and two have fallen out, putting him at risk of serious injury at any moment.
Many immigrant trans women have medical needs, including sometimes requiring access to hormone medication and HIV medication. Many immigrant trans women have experiences of trauma that resulted in them fleeing to the US and require mental health care. Instead, Adelanto is known to shackle individuals during their appointments with psychiatrists. Additionally, Adelanto is extremely isolated from access to attorneys.
Olga Tomchin, Deportation Defense Coordinator and Staff Attorney at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network explains, “This move starkly demonstrates the emptiness of ICE’s recent promises to improve detention conditions for transgender immigrants. Adelanto has not even signed the optional contract that is part of the new trans guidelines. While ICE points publicly to meaningless pretty pieces of paper, they are transferring trans women to one of the worst detention centers in the country.”
LGBTQ and immigrant rights advocates stand in solidarity with the Adelanto 4 and other detained people with disabilities and denounce transfer of transgender women there:
Luis Nolasco of the ACLU of Southern California and Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA): “We are very alarmed to hear about ICE’s decision to begin housing trans women at the Adelanto Detention Center. The facility has history of providing subpar medical care to its existing 1300 male detained people which included two in custody deaths. We are very wary that the facility will provide the necessary care and protections that vulnerable populations like trans women deserve.”
Christina Fialho, co-executive director of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), a national group that has been visiting and monitoring the Adelanto Detention Center since 2012: “Our federal government is turning a blind eye to the abuse, medical neglect, and mismanagement at Adelanto. Rather than reigning in GEO Group’s unchecked authority, the government is giving GEO more power over vulnerable immigrants. The Adelanto Detention Center is not a safe place for any person, including transgender women.”
Jonathan Perez of the Immigrant Youth Coalition who was detained in a GEO Group immigration detention facility in Louisiana: “While people are concerned with the anti-immigrant statements spewed by Donald Trump, people are failing to see President Obama as the real anti-immigrant with actual power to inflict misery upon the immigrant community. After thousands of people detained and millions deported this latest move to incarcerate transgender immigrants in Adelanto is nothing more than retaliation against the LGBTQ community by increasing the isolation of LGBTQ refugees.”
Jorge Gutierrez of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement: “Our community does not need expanded detention center facilities to continue to torture and abuse trans immigrant women. What our community needs is the immediate release of LGBTQ immigrants from detention.”
Isa Noyola of Transgender Law Center and El/La Para TransLatinas: “While ICE is trying to distract the LGBTQ community by boasting about its entirely inadequate new trans guidelines, they are transferring trans women to a for-profit immigration prison that already is violating the human rights of other vulnerable populations like folks with disabilities. This is not acceptable.”