Activists in NM city rally around LGBTQ migrants

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Members of AVID in the Chihuahuan Desert volunteer at the Las Cruces Womxn’s Rally in Las Cruces, N.M., on Jan. 19, 2019. Photo courtesy of AVID in the Chihuahuan Desert.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. | Ivan, a 25-year-old gay man from Uganda, entered the U.S. on Christmas Day 2018 when he crossed the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas.

Ivan told the Washington Blade during an interview at the offices of Alianza of New Mexico, a Las Cruces-based HIV/AIDS service organization, on July 15 that anti-gay discrimination and his family’s decision to reject him because of his sexual orientation prompted him to leave Uganda.

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Members of Congress urge ICE to improve transgender detainee treatment

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: A transgender woman eats inside a unit for trans detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M., on June 6, 2019. Photo public domain.

More than 30 members of Congress on Aug. 1 sent a letter to Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence about the treatment of transgender detainees in their custody.

“We are gravely concerned regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) policies for individuals seeking asylum in the United States,” wrote the lawmakers. “Today, we write to express our strong concerns with ICE’s treatment of transgender migrants seeking asylum in the United States, especially those coming to the U.S. from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.”

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Trans ICE detainees in NM describe inadequate medical care, mistreatment

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M., has a unit specifically for transgender women who are in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. Photo courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Twenty-nine transgender women who are in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at a privately-run detention center in rural New Mexico have signed a letter in which they complain about the conditions in which they are living.

The trans women who are detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center signed the handwritten letter written in Spanish that is dated June 26. Trans Queer Pueblo, a Phoenix-based group that advocates on behalf of undocumented LGBT immigrants, provided a copy of it to the Washington Blade.

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Transgender woman from El Salvador dies in ICE custody

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A transgender woman from El Salvador died June 1 while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

An ICE press release says Johana “Joa” Medina Leon, who was identified by her birth name, passed away at a hospital in El Paso, Texas.

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Gay, transgender detainees allege abuse at ICE facility in NM

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement this week again defended the treatment of its detainees amid allegations that a dozen gay men and transgender women suffered abuse while they were being held at an ICE detention center in New Mexico.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Dreamers Project and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in a March 25 letter to ICE and the Department of Homeland Security said the gay and trans detainees suffered “rampant sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse” at the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, N.M.

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ICE confirms 45 transgender women being held at Texas detention center

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to the Washington Blade that it is currently housing 45 transgender women at a privately-run detention center in Texas.

Danielle Bennett on Feb. 5 said the trans women are being held at the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall, Texas. The GEO Group, a Florida-based company, operates the facility that is roughly 60 miles southwest of San Antonio.

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ICE official defends treatment of transgender detainees

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Dec. 18 defended the agency’s treatment of transgender people who are in its custody.

Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, the openly gay deputy assistant director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Custody Programs, during an interview with the Washington Blade at ICE headquarters in Southwest Washington noted a 2015 memorandum that then-ICE Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations Thomas Homan signed.

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Three US senators seek documents in death of Roxsana Hernández

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Three U.S. senators on Dec. 5 called upon the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to release documents related to the case of a transgender Honduran woman with HIV who died in their custody.

The letter that U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) sent to Acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan notes Roxsana Hernández, 33, died in ICE custody on Nov. 25. The letter also highlights Hernández, who was part of a 300-person caravan that traveled to the U.S. border earlier this year, was taken into custody by Border Patrol on May 9 when she asked for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego.

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Autopsy: Trans Honduran woman who died in ICE custody was beaten

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Transgender Law Center on Nov. 26 released the results of an autopsy that shows a transgender Honduran woman with HIV was beaten before she died while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

Roxsana Hernández, who was from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, was among a group of trans women who were part of a 300-person caravan that traveled to the U.S. border earlier this year.

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ICE releases 14 transgender asylum seekers

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released from its custody 14 transgender women who are seeking asylum in the U.S.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts in a July 31 press release that announced the trans women’s release said they had been detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M.

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Violence, discrimination prompts LGBTI Hondurans to migrate

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: A photo of Roxana Hernández, a transgender Honduran woman with HIV who died in ICE custody in May, hangs on a wall inside the offices of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on July 11, 2018. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Members of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, on July 11 were sewing a transgender Pride flag for an upcoming march. On the wall behind them were the pictures of 19 local activists and community members who have been killed over the last decade.

“You can be killed at any moment in this extremely violent country,” a lesbian activist told the Washington Blade during an interview with three others affiliated with Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa who identify themselves as transsexual women.

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Gay Army chaplain struggles to save husband from deportation

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Army Capt. Tim Brown, on right, is fighting the deportation of his husband, Sergio Avila-Rodriguez. Photo courtesy the couple.

U.S. Army Capt. Tim Brown, who was awarded two Bronze Star Medals for two tours of duty in Afghanistan, currently serves as an Army chaplain at the Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina.

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