SANTA ANA (AP) — Immigration authorities will consider housing transgender detainees based on the gender they identify with in the wake of criticism about detention conditions for the population, officials said Monday.
Detention staff should consider transgender detainees’ preferences when making decisions about housing and clothing and what pronouns should be used, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in new guidelines for the treatment of transgender detainees.READ MORE: 'Gentle And Generous Soul': Bruno, LA Zoo's 42-Year-Old Orangutan, Dies Suddenly
The agency will start tracking data for transgender detainees, train detention staff and draft individual detention plans for transgender detainees to deal with issues ranging from hormone therapy to safety, said Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, ICE’s deputy assistant director of custody programs.
“ICE will allow for the placement of a transgender woman consistent with their gender identity, meaning that a transgender woman could be with biological females,” said Lorenzen-Strait, who was also appointed as a national coordinator for issues related to gay, lesbian and transgender detainees.
The move did little to quell criticism from advocates who have urged the agency to release more transgender immigration detainees, citing their increased risk of sexual assault in detention. Last week, a heckler interrupted President Barack Obama’s remarks at a gay pride event in Washington to protest the detention and deportation of gay, lesbian and transgender immigrants.READ MORE: CHiPs For Kids Toy Drive Kicks Off For 2021
“This is all interesting on paper, to say the least, but we need to see how this actually plays out,” said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “We don’t think these folks should be in detention centers, period.”
ICE currently has about 60 transgender detainees. About 25 are housed in a special unit in Santa Ana for transgender women and gay men. The rest are housed in different facilities across the country, mostly with the general population and consistent with their biological sex, Lorenzen-Strait said.
The agency houses about 31,000 detainees a day, mostly at contract facilities, he said.MORE NEWS: Several Small Burbank Shops Targeted In Early Morning Burglary Spree
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)