Dignity Denied: LGBT Immigrants in U.S. Immigration Detention
SOURCE: Center for American Progress
- Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF and Scribd versions.
- Download the report:
- Read it in your browser:
As Congress debates immigration reform, a common refrain from congressional Republicans is the call for increased border security and increased resources for enforcement of immigration laws. While it is in the interest of national sovereignty and security to track those who come into and leave the United States, we cannot permit enforcement of immigration laws to trample immigrants’ basic human rights. We must ensure that immigration enforcement is conducted in a humane manner that respects human dignity. Unfortunately, the current immigration enforcement system falls short of this goal, particularly in regard to the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, immigrants.
While the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, does not keep data on the sexual orientation or gender identity of people in its custody, reports of treatment of LGBT detainees obtained through Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests and through complaints filed by immigrant rights groups reveal that much like in the general prison population—where LGBT inmates are 15 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the general population—LGBT immigrants in immigration detention facilities face an increased risk of abuse in detention. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment went as far as finding the treatment of LGBT immigrants in U.S. detention facilities in violation of the Convention Against Torture after it received information on gay and transgender individuals who had been subjected to solitary confinement, torture, and ill-treatment—including sexual assault—while detained in U.S. immigration facilities.
This report will examine the mistreatment LGBT immigrants face in immigration detention; the steps that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has taken in an attempt to address these issues; the impact that legislation pending before Congress would have on immigration enforcement; and recommendations for how to ensure enforcement of immigration laws is conducted in a manner that is effective and humane.
Sharita Gruberg is a Policy Analyst for the LGBT Immigration Project at the Center for American Progress.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or email@example.com
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.482.8103 or email@example.com