The U.S. government has chosen to hold many foreign nationals in jail facilities while their removal (“deportation”) proceedings are pending. There are over 200 facilities around the U.S. holding tens of thousands of immigration detainees.
Detention is particularly problematic for LGBTQ and HIV-positive detainees. Transgender women are placed in male facilities; gay men and people living with HIV are outed; LGBTQ people are often put in prolonged solitary confinement (known as administrative segregation) “for their own protection.” Various reports have been issued (read GAO report and CAP report) documenting that LGBTQ people trapped in detention experience regular harassment, abuse and even rape. Living in constant fear for their own safety in detention and fearing deportation to countries where they may have already experienced violence, detention is truly a nightmare for our community. Even one day in detention can feel like an eternity, having lasting mental and physical health consequences. Immigration Equality’s detention attorneys are doing everything they can to protect LGBTQ detainees, fix the policies around detention and advocate for compliance with procedures meant to keep detainees safe.