Home > In the News > The Guardian: Transgender unit in planned detention facility draws criticism from advocates

By Amanda Holpuch | May 24, 2016

Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans for 36-bed special unit in Texas facility, but advocates say transgender people ‘simply should not be in detention’

US immigration authorities’ plan to open a new detention facility with a specialized unit for transgender people is being condemned by advocates who argue that the vulnerable population should not be detained.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Tuesday that its Prairieland detention facility in Texas will have a separate 36-bed unit for transgender individuals when it opens in November.

But advocates say this move to offer more protections for the population overlooks how vulnerable transgender people are to physical and sexual assaults in detention facilities.

Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, a legal group that advocates for LGBT immigrants, said transgender people “simply should not be in detention”.

“It will rip them apart from their families, it will deny them access to counsel of their choice,” Morris told the Guardian. “If you put all of one vulnerable group in a tiny facility in the countryside, it raises pretty severe concerns about who is going to be watching over the group.”

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