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December 9, 2014
Immigration Equality Demands an End to Torture in Immigration Detention Centers
On Human Rights Day 2014, Immigration Equality Backs UN Report on Overuse of Solitary Confinement

New York, NY – This Human Rights Day, Immigration Equality recommits itself to the fight to ensure humane treatment for LGBT people in immigration detention facilities in the United States. Immigration Equality supports the United Nations Committee Against Torture recommendations on the treatment of vulnerable communities in immigration detention centers. Immigration Equality also backs the United Nations in their declaration that solitary confinement is a form of torture. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should end the use of prolonged solitary confinement immediately.

“Immigration Equality is outraged about the placement of transgender women in male facilities,” said Caroline Dessert, Executive Director of Immigration Equality. “You cannot house a woman in a men’s detention facility. If you do, she is likely to be raped. This fact is obvious to everyone, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Yet, DHS continues to put transgender women in men’s facilities. It happens every single day. DHS must listen to the experts and use humane alternatives to detention.”

“Ninety percent of trans detainees are women trapped in prison cells with men,” said Aaron Morris, Legal Director of Immigration Equality. “To prevent transgender women from being raped, DHS regularly confines them to prolonged solitary confinement. Many trans women spend 23 hours a day in absolute isolation. They euphemistically call this process ‘administrative segregation’ to distinguish it from solitary confinement. It is difficult to discern any real difference between the two. About once a day, we get calls from trans women begging for help. DHS knows that it cannot detain transgender women safely. And so, it should not detain them at all. That is why we recommended expanding the use of community-based alternatives to detention. The U.S. government must also take immediate steps to prevent sexual assault in detention centers.”


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 of legal experts has won asylum for more than 600 LGBT and HIV-positive individuals.