US pulls out of support for transgender immigrants

Months after demands from immigrant rights advocates for officials in the United States to do more to prevent the sexual abuse of transgender women held in detention centers, immigration officials have apparently abandoned plans to move dozens of such immigrants to a separate facility in Adelanto in Southern California to be housed with other female detainees.

“US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is no longer pursuing Adelanto as a location to house transgender women on a long-term basis,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said in an email. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not elaborate on why it has changed its plans for the facility. The change was announced last summer and resulted in a storm of criticism from immigrant advocates for offering no protection for the transgender women, for offering insufficient medical care, and for allowing solitary confinement as a punishment.

Federal policy sees transgender women housed with men, which advocates claim has resulted in sexual abuse. Officials planned to move these women to the Adelanto facility; however, while the Transgender Care Memorandum was initially welcomed by advocates upon its release six months ago, the advocates later pointed out that both male and female detainees had complained of abuse at this facility.

A recent study of immigrants sent back to Mexico documents claims of abuse by ICE agents, while last month advocates claimed that over 300 men at Adelanto had gone on a hunger strike to demand faster deportation proceedings and improved medical care.