Transgender women abused at immigration detention centers

Maryland residents may be aware that U.S. immigration authorities are struggling to cope with a wave of asylum seekers who hope to escape persecution or danger in their home countries and begin new lives in the United States. Many of these people are gay or transsexual individuals wishing to live in a country where they are not openly persecuted or discriminated against, but a report released on March 23 by Human Rights Watch claims that dozens of transgender individuals have been mistreated in immigration detention centers.

The HRW report details the cases of 28 transgender individuals who were detained by U.S. immigration authorities between 2011 and 2015. The international human rights organization says that more than half of the transgender women they spoke to claim to have spent at least some time in facilities designed for men, and about the same number said that they had been placed in solitary confinement at one time or another. While solitary confinement is generally seen as a punishment, it can also be ordered to protect vulnerable detainees.

The report cites the cases of two transsexual women who entered the United States after fleeing gang violence in Honduras. The first woman told HRW that immigration officials were uninterested when she reported that she had been raped by three men at an Arizona detention facility in 2014, and the second claims that she was placed in solitary confinement at a Louisiana facility for several months even though she had done nothing wrong.

Attorneys with experience in this area may understand how frustrating the immigration process can be for those anxious to work and live legally in the United States. America is still seen as a beacon of liberty and opportunity by people all over the world, but the immigration rules are strict and often unforgiving.

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