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During Pride Month, Let’s Remember The Trans Latinas Who Have Recently Died While In ICE Custody

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Trans people are likely the most vulnerable and persecuted population in America. Add race and status discrimination to the mix and trans mortality dramatically shortens. Eight black trans women have been murdered in the U.S. so far this year. And yet, the United States might be the safest, geographically accessible country in the Americas for trans people.

In the last few years, there has been an influx of trans people seeking asylum from the violence they experience in Central America and Mexico. When they arrive, they’re placed in ICE detention centers where their abuse and mistreatment has resulted in two reported deaths in just over a year.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed 28 transgender women held in ICE and released its report.

@bdnews24 / Twitter

In 2016, the HRW reported “serious and disturbing allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, of mistreatment, of the dangers of being placed with the male population, and [lack of access] to medical treatment.”

Women were being forced to endure strip searches from male guards. The solution to the abuse they faced in male populations was to place them in solitary confinement, rather than a female population.

Johana Medina Leon asked for medical attention for weeks before she died on June 1st.

@Dr_Whomever / Twitter

She pled for medical attention for weeks. On May 28th, ICE finally complied and she found she tested positive for HIV. ICE released her on parole, to be sent to an El Paso hospital with chest pains and died days later. Officials haven’t released a cause of death yet.

Medina Leon had passed the first round of the interview process to gain asylum from El Salvador.

@NMACCommunity / Twitter

She was held in detention over a month before her first interview and was going into her second month at the Otero processing center–a privately owned facility notorious for its abuses against the LGBTQ+ community.

Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez traveled from Honduras to seek asylum in the U.S. She died in ICE custody.

@ajplus / Twitter

Hernandez Rodriguez died on May 9, 2018. The official autopsy reports that she died of severe dehydration–a shockingly preventable death. Independent autopsies commissioned by civil rights activists discovered the proof of abuse Hernandez Rodriguez faced during her 16 days in ICE custody.

Hernandez Rodriguez had anonymously shared her stories of rape as a trans woman in Honduras.

@aflores / Twitter

She was part of the migrant caravan that the media decided to cover last year. The independent autopsies revealed that she had been beaten while in custody. ICE denies the allegations.

Medina Leon, 23, and Hernandez Rodriguez, 33, exemplify ICE’s inability to provide appropriate medical care to trans asylum seekers.

@MaketheRoadNY / Twitter

There is currently no policy that forces ICE to place transgender immigrants in the gender population of their expression. HRW reports that the most significant danger to a trans woman in ICE custody is being misgendered and placed in the male population. One trans woman interviewed revealed she was raped by three men in a detention center in Arizona.

More than 26,000 people have petitioned to release Alejandra Barrera, the longest detained trans woman.

@sonsandbros / Twitter

Barrera has been in an ICE facility since November 2017 when she first reached the border seeking asylum from El Salvador. In the last 19 months, she has had no opportunity to build a new life and is at increased risk of sexual violence while in ICE.

The Trans Latina Coalition is working to make sure Barrera is released.

@TransLatina_C / Twitter

Barrera experienced sexual assault by a gang and the Salvadoran military before leaving her work of trans right advocacy in El Salvador for a semblance of safety. Yet, her request for parole has been denied and she remains behind bars, without adequate access to medical care.

While LGBT people make up .1 percent of ICE detainees, they account for 12 percent of the victims of sexual assault.

@AlturiOrg / Twitter

ICE reported to Congress that 40 trans people were placed in solitary confinement in 2017. Twenty-five of whom requested the confinement, which is internationally recognized as torture because being in gen pop was unsafe.

Trans people seeking refuge are only finding abuse and death in U.S. detention centers. ICE refuses to accept any responsibility for these preventable deaths, perhaps because they think nobody is watching.

READ: New York City Is Finally Dedicating A Memorial To The Two Trans Women Of Color Who Started The Gay Liberation Movement

As ICE Raids Get Postponed For Two Weeks, Immigrant Communities Remain On Edge

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As ICE Raids Get Postponed For Two Weeks, Immigrant Communities Remain On Edge

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News broke over the weekend that President Trump would be delaying planned immigration raids throughout the country. He tweeted that the deportation operations would be postponed by two weeks to see if Congress can make changes to asylum laws and work out legislative groundwork with Democrats.

As news of the roundups became public knowledge on Friday, faith and immigration groups prepared and informed communities of their rights and procedures in case of an interaction with ICE officials. But the sudden abrupt reversal did little to relieve or reassure immigrants and their supporters.

Migrant communities across the country are becoming familiar with this feeling.

President Trump’s reversal came as immigrant advocates prepared undocumented immigrants for a highly publicized operation. ICE officials were expected to target more than 2,000 families with pending deportations orders. But even with a delay, fears are mounting for many who don’t know what to expect next for themselves and their families.

Marjorie Murillo, a community liaison specialist for Miami Dade Public Schools, says that President Trump’s delayed immigration raids do nothing but toy with immigrant communities livelihoods.

“We don’t trust him in any way,” Murillo told NBC News. “I’ve been calling and sending messages everywhere that they are postponed, but where I live, parents and everyone, they are never safe.”

This isn’t the first time President Trump has used immigration fear tactics to push for legislation.

Back in 2017, President Trump attempted to terminate the Obama-era program that protected so-called Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. It was a failed attempt to pressure Congress in passing an immigration bill that included new restrictions on legal immigration. Earlier this year, a 35-day government shutdown ended without Democrats agreeing to the president’s terms, funding for a border wall.

There has been pushback from politicians and immigration advocates that are calling the raids unjust.

According to CNN, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Trump Friday night and asked him to call off the raids. It was the next day that the President would announce the delay. Pelosi approved of President Trump’s announced delay and said it would give Congress enough time to work on immigration reform.

“Mr. President, delay is welcome. Time is needed for comprehensive immigration reform. Families belong together,” Pelosi tweeted.

Some are calling the move a tactic to help benefit Trump’s effort to secure funding for immigration enforcement. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are currently in the midst of negotiating legislation to allocate funds to different agencies, that includes ICE. The agency is dealing with record large-scale migration of Central American families and unaccompanied children to the U.S.-Mexico border, currently at a 13-year high.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been one of the strongest advocates against ICE deportations. The organization says President Trump’s immigration policies have installed fears in communities across the country.

“Our communities shouldn’t have to live in fear that parents won’t come home from work, or kids won’t return from school, or a knock at the door could rip a family apart,” the ACLU said in a tweet. “This isn’t Donald Trump’s America, it’s ours. We can resist his deportation agenda — together.”

Many on social media are using their platform to share tips and advice in case an individual finds themselves interacting with ICE.

CREDIT:@diana-bbcita/Twitter

Within hours that news broke that immigration raids would be happening, people took to social media to share helpful tips. From informing people to stay in their homes and to not answer their doors, by the time President Trump announced the delay on Saturday, people were ready.

Images across social media showed ICE checkpoints and areas of interest where deportation officials might show up. But even as more time is given to prepare for the worst-case scenarios, many aren’t taking any risks.

“He’s making an announcement as if these deportations are not already happening,” Murillo said. “He’s saying if Democrats don’t do what I want them to do, deportations will start in two weeks. Deportations have been happening since he went into office. It’s coming, maybe it will turn a little bit, stay on guard. We can’t ever let our guard down.”

READ: ICE Raids Ordered To Begin On Sunday In Major Cities

ICE Raids Ordered To Begin On Sunday In Major Cities

Things That Matter

ICE Raids Ordered To Begin On Sunday In Major Cities

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly planning a raid in the early morning hours on Sunday in 10 cities.

It is being reported that the raids will target more than 2,000 families in cities with large migrant populations including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, according to officials who remain anonymous.

Trump tweeted on Monday that ICE would begin deporting millions of undocumented immigrants throughout the U.S.

More than “1 million” undocumented immigrants “have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges yet remain at large in the country” and called enforcing those judicial orders a “top priority” for ICE, a senior administration official told CNN.

They are allegedly planning to use hotel rooms to house everyone until the family can be deported together and say they might even arrest individuals that can’t be deported immediately. They will most likely be released with ankle monitors, in cases such as parents whose children are U.S. citizens.

Miami is reportedly one of the first cities that’ll be raided, according to the Miami Herald, and the other cities are Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York City, and San Francisco.

Those who will allegedly be targeted include minors who came into the U.S. without their parents and have since turned 18; people who were ordered removed in absentia; and people who missed a court hearing and failed to respond to letters from the Department of Justice (DOJ). Additionally, families on the “rocket docket,” a set of deportation cases fast-tracked for by the DOJ.

There are around 52,000 single adults in ICE custody overall, mostly those who came from the border, according to CNN.

Many are saying Trump’s push for deportations, including essentially outing the raid, are part of his reelection bid due to his poor record.

The inhumane treatment of immigrants in detention centers has been well documented, with a spread of illness leading to many unnecessary deaths, including those of children.

Recently the American Civil Liberties Union  ACLU shared on Instagram what people can do if ICE comes knocking on their door.

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What to do if ICE agents are at your door. #KnowYourRights

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They advise not to open the door unless they have a warrant signed by a judge since ICE administrative warrant does not give them permission to enter a home.

The ACLU website also has an entire section dedicated to immigrants’ rights with several resources for dealing with ICE, border patrol, and the police.

In response to raid that occurred in Ohio a little more than a year ago, HOLA Ohio founder Veronica Isabel Dahlberg wrote in a blog on the ACLU site:

“Regardless of citizenship status, for workers — including teenagers, mothers, fathers, and those with medical issues — to be treated like enemy insurgents is beyond disturbing. It is terrible, barbaric, and inhumane.”

READ: Daughter Sues ICE After They Denied Father Cirrhosis And Diabetes Medication While In Detention Resulting In His Death

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