Home > Blog > Hillary speaks up for LGBT immigrants


Yesterday, at a high school in Las Vegas, a young LGBT undocumented immigrant asked Secretary Clinton how to protect detained transgender immigrants.

Erica: As a lesbian woman, I would like to know how we can protect our brothers and sisters from being put in institutions where they don’t identify with their gender identity?

Clinton: I think we have to do more to provide a safe environment for vulnerable populations. That certainly includes the LGBT community… and unaccompanied children. There are groups of people who deserve a higher level of care, because of the situations they are finding themselves in. I think we have to reform our detention system. I think we need to look at how we make our entire system more human. I’m not sure a lot of Americans know a lot of the detention facilities for immigrants are run by private companies. They have a built-in incentive to fill them up. There is actually a legal requirement that so many beds be filled. So people go out and round up [immigrants] in order to get paid on a per day basis. That makes no sense to me. That is not the way we should be running any detention facility.

Secretary Clinton, we could not agree more. Immigration Equality has long fought for the release of LGBT immigrants from unsafe detention facilities. Transgender women are particularly at risk because they are 13 times more likely than the average person to be sexually assaulted in detention. If the government cannot detain LGBT immigrants safely, they should not detain them at all.

Immigration Equality fights for the LGBT immigrant community every day. We currently represent more than 520 immigrants, 65 of whom were detained at some point by the U.S. government. Help support our work for detained LGBT immigrants.


Caroline Dessert
Executive Director, Immigration Equality