Complaint: LGBT immigrants abused, neglected at detention centers run by Homeland Security

The National Immigration Justice Center has filed civil rights complaints on behalf of 13 LGBT immigrants who were allegedly abused and neglected at detention centers run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in nine states, including one in Houston. The Heartland Alliance’s NIJC filed the complaints today in a letter addressed to Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, calling on the department to investigate and implement new policies.

The group has also launched a petition calling on the DHS and President Barack Obama to end the abuse of LGBT immigrants in detention.

The 13 complaints include allegations of sexual assault, denial of adequate medical care, long-term solitary confinement, discrimination and abuse, and ineffective complaints and appeals process. Below are a few examples from the letter, which you can download in its entirety here:

• [Juan] was sexually assaulted by two other detainees. Despite repeated requests for a transfer to another facility because he feared for his safety [Juan] was not transferred until three months after the incident, when ICE Headquarters intervened. In the meantime, the only “protection” that the Otero County Detention Center offered was placement in the “hole.” (Otero County Detention Center, New Mexico)

• [Delfino] was held in segregation for four months, justifying their decision on the basis that [Delfino] presented “effeminately.” Facility staff refused to provide [Delfino] a Bible and permitted him only one hour of recreation – in a cold nine- by-thirteen-foot cell – per day. (Houston Processing Center, Texas)

• [Monica] continues to be denied hormone therapy, despite her use of hormones for ten years prior to immigration detention, and her physical and psychological reliance on them. [Monica], now detained for over five months, told NIJC staff, “I can’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore,” due to returning facial and body hair and other distressing changes. [Monica], an asylum seeker who has suffered grave past abuse in Mexico, also received no treatment for her trauma- related depression. She attempted suicide in February 2011 – the facility put her in solitary confinement as punishment. (Santa Ana City Jail, California)

• [Alexis] was repeatedly called a “faggot” by guards, who also made jokes about her dying of AIDS. They singled her out for public searches in which they forced her to remove her outer clothing and mocked her exposed breasts. (Theo Lacy Facility, California)

—  John Wright

ADN: Sen Ted Stevens Feared Dead After Plane Crash In Alaska

Breaking story out of Alaska this morning.

NASA former head Sean O’Keefe and sons were on board as well as former AK Senator Ted Stevens, now confirmed by MSNBC (9:50am).


The Anchorage Daily News is reporting that a small plane carrying at least eight people, possibly including former Sen. Ted Stevens, crashed last night near Dillingham, Alaska.

From ADN:


Severe weather has hampered the rescue operation for eight people believed to be on board a GCI-owned aircraft that crashed near Dillingham on Monday night with possible fatalities, according to state and federal officials.

The Alaska Air National Guard was called to the area about 20 miles north of Dillingham at about 7 p.m. after a passing aircraft saw the wreckage, spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said. Eight people were reported to be on board the aircraft, though their status wasn’t immediately known, he said. There were possible fatalities, he said.

This is not the first plane crash Stevens has been in; he survived a crash in 1978 that killed his wife Ann.

ABC’s GMA had a story about the crash this morning.

NPR also has the story, with a link to local NBC affiliate KTUU.
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—  John Wright