Target: Sarah Saldana, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director
Goal: End placement of trans women in male-dominated immigrant holding facilities.
The housing of transgender women in private prison cells with male inmates is a dangerous trend in detention centers and facilities across the United States–especially in immigration detention where they face abuse and rape at the hands of cellmates and even correction officers.
According to The Advocate, trans women are being violently attacked and raped at alarming rates along the U.S. border with Mexico, near Arizona. The attacks are largely taking place while in custody at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, as countless trans women await asylum.
Although trans women petition to be held in cells and facilities designated to women, quarters that are aligned with their gender identity and unique expressions, transgender people currently have no say in where they are detained. As a result, many trans people, especially trans women, are placed in harm’s way by being housed with male counterparts, many of whom suffer from severe mental ailments.
Further, correction officers and guards are allegedly perpetuating the cycle of abuse by ignoring inmate requests for a change of cell, acting apathetically to complaints and violently mistreating detainees. Although ICE claims to be committed to providing safety and caring for the welfare of those in its custody, the spur of recent events and disheartening allegations say otherwise.
Sign the petition to urge ICE Director Sarah Saldana to end the vicious cycle of abuse and rape against trans women in immigration detention.
Dear Sarah Saldana,
There is a disturbing trend happening within immigration detention centers, especially at your Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility–the abuse and rape of trans women inmates. According to The Advocate, trans women are being violently attacked, raped and mistreated at alarming rates while they await asylum at the ICE detention center nearest to the U.S. border with Mexico.
From stabbings to mass fights, many of which are allegedly transphobic attacks, trans women are forced to live through nightmarish circumstances through being placed in cells with men when they clearly identify as women. Unwanted sexual advances, from fellow inmates and even guards, are just a few of the issues trans women in detainment must endure–the most serious being rape.
Transgender women have petitioned tirelessly to be placed in facilities with women, or to have their own specialized facilities, to no avail. The injustice faced by trans women inmates is deplorable and largely preventable if the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration agency would show some empathy and understand that trans women do not belong in male-dominated facilities.
I urge you to recognize the trauma and danger trans women detainees are enduring by being placed in cells with men and change your policies regarding trans people in detention.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: AnonMoos