Group demands ICE release trans woman in ‘life-or-death medical crisis’

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

An advocacy group says a transgender woman who is in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in New Mexico is “in a life-or-death medical crisis.”

The Santa Fe Dreamers Project, an Albuquerque-based immigrant advocacy group, in a Jan. 16 press release says ICE last December released a trans asylum seeker from El Salvador identified as J.H. from the Cibola County Correctional Center where she had been detained for nearly a year.

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House Democrats call for ICE to release all transgender detainees

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: A transgender woman inside a unit for transgender detainees in Milan, N.M. Photo public domain.

More than 40 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday called for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release all of the transgender people who are in their custody.

“The United States is bound by domestic and international law to protect — not punish — vulnerable populations escaping from persecution,” reads the letter to Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence and Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf that U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) spearheaded. “We demand that ICE abide by these laws by immediately bringing facilities detaining transgender individuals into compliance, and by arranging for release of transgender individuals at risk of sexual abuse and assault in ICE custody.”

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GLOBE Act introduced in US Senate

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) speaks at the Senate Visitors Center on Dec. 10. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Three U.S. senators introduced a bill Dec. 10 that would require the U.S. to continue to promote LGBTQ rights abroad through its foreign policy.

The Greater Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Actintroduced by U.S. Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) — would codify into law the position of special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad.

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Rep. Jayapal reiterates call for Stephen Miller’s resignation at Victory Fund conference

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) once again called for White House advisor Stephen Miller to resign.

“We do not believe Stephen Miller should be in the White House advising this president,” said Jayapal as she spoke during a panel on LGBTQ immigration at the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s annual International LGBTQ Leaders Conference that took place at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown D.C. on Nov. 16.

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Briefing on LGBTQ asylum seekers takes place on Capitol Hill

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

A briefing on the plight of LGBTQ asylum seekers took place on Oct. 23 at the Russell Senate Office Building.

Two asylum seekers — a transgender woman from El Salvador and a gay man from Nigeria — spoke at the briefing that Sharita Gruberg of the Center for American Progress moderated. Jennifer Quigley of Human Rights First and Richard Kelly of Center Global also participated. The Human Rights Campaign, the Council for Global Equality, the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigration Equality and the Transgender Law Center are among the groups that co-sponsored the briefing.

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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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