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

TRAILER: Fire From The Heartland

The coming documentary Fire From The Heartland is from Citizens United, the same outfit whose hit piece on Hillary Clinton resulted in the Supreme Court decision that corporations can make unlimited donations to political campaigns. This time they are exalting the nation’s female wingnuts. Clip description:

The first-ever film to tell the entire story of the conservative woman in her own words, “Fire from the Heartland” is a powerful statement about America at a crossroads and the women who have awakened to the crisis. With role models such as Clare Boothe Luce, Margaret Thatcher, and Phyllis Schlafly as inspiration, these women are the unintended consequence of the liberal feminist movement. Tracing the long history of the many conservative women who have been the backbone of this great nation, from the founding mothers of our Republic to today’s “Mama Grizzlies,” this powerful and compelling documentary honors the self-made American woman. Activists, politicians and commentators such as Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, S.E. Cupp, Dana Loesch, Michelle Easton, Sonnie Johnson, Jenny Beth Martin, Michelle Moore, Jamie Radtke, Deneen Borelli, Janine Turner, and Congresswomen Cynthia Lummis, Jean Schmidt, and Michele Bachmann share their emotional stories of hardship and triumph in their fight for freedom. These women leaders are fanning the flames of liberty across the nation.

Definitely watch the clip, folks.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Free Owen Pallett download available for one week only

Owen Pallett, The National, Lewis Takes His Shirt Off, Heartland
Owen Pallett

I received a couple of tidbits about gay musician Owen Pallett. First, he’s coming back to town in October. I’m kinda stoked that he’s coming back to perform with The National at House of Blues Oct. 9. He’s on tour supporting Heartland and played here already at the Granada back in April. You might remember that.

Second, for a limited time, he’s got music for free! If you click here, you can download his EP “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt,” the lead single from Heartland. Four remixes of the song and two mixes of other tracks from the album can be all yours. Score! Even though I got the notice today, the page itself is dated July 9 and the download is available only for a week.

—  Rich Lopez