FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2015
Contact: Im Senephimmachack
Immigration Equality lauds Flores v. Johnson decision
New York, NY – Immigration Equality commends the District Court of Central California for issuing the historic Flores v. Johnson decision. In the opinion, the Court held that existing law requires immigration authorities to make continuous efforts to release detained children and reunite them with their families in the United States. The Court also noted “widespread and deplorable” conditions for minors in immigration detention. Accordingly, it ordered the Department of Homeland Security to file proposed standards and procedures within 90 days to ensure that existing youth detention facilities are “safe and sanitary, consistent with concern for the particular vulnerability of minors.”
Immigration Equality urges Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) to recognize that all vulnerable groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals merit release from detention. Despite recent policy changes, ICE still permits transgender women to be detained in men’s facilities, where they are thirteen times more likely to be victims of sexual assault. “Time and again, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has demonstrated that it simply cannot detain vulnerable populations safely,” explained Caroline Dessert, Executive Director of Immigration Equality. “The answer is not to squander public resources to create transgender-specific detention centers like the facility ICE is reportedly building in Southern California at Adelanto. The most humane, cost-effective, and sensible choice will always be to release LGBT immigrants from detention.”
Friday’s District Court ruling requires immigration authorities to release parents with minor children if they are neither a flight risk nor a threat to national security. Immigration Equality celebrates this human rights victory. We also implore ICE not to wait for a Court to compel it to do the same for LGBT immigrants.
# # #
Since 1994, Immigration Equality has been representing LGBT and HIV-positive asylum seekers, detainees, and binational couples, who are fighting for safety, fair treatment, and freedom. Immigration Equality represents people from around the world fleeing violence, abuse and persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status. Our team represents more than 500 individuals in 25 states.