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National Immigrant Justice Center Letter to Schlanger Re Civil Rights Complaints of Lgbtq Prisoners in Dhs Custody 2011

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HEARTLAND
ALLIANCE

National Immigrant Justice Center

April 13, 2011

Officer Margo Schlanger
Department of Homeland Security
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Review and Compliance
245 Murray Lane, SW
Building 410, Mail Stop #0190
Washington, D.C. 20528

Redacted Copy for Public
Distribution
Complainants’ full names and
personal information have been
removed from this document in
order to protect their privacy.

E-mail: crcl@dhs.gov
Re:

Submission of Civil Rights Complaints regarding Mistreatment and Abuse of
Sexual Minorities in DHS Custody

Dear Ms. Schlanger:
Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) submits a multiindividual complaint for 13 clients detailing civil and human rights violations committed
against sexual minorities in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Due to the systemic and severe abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) individuals in immigration detention, we urge the Office of Civil Rights and
Civil Liberties (CRCL), pursuant to its authority under 6 U.S.C. § 345, to investigate
these complaints, to develop and implement policies to address the violations, and to
provide oversight on the implementation of the new policies.
Although we recommend several incremental improvements, DHS cannot, consistent
with its constitutional obligations, continue to detain vulnerable individuals whom they
are unable to protect. This letter summarizes the enclosed complaints and provides
recommendations to address the civil rights violations.
NIJC, based in Chicago, provides direct legal services to and advocates for immigrants,
refugees, and asylum seekers through policy reform, impact litigation, and public
education. NIJC’s National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities protects the rights
of immigrant sexual minorities by representing individual clients, providing training and
support to attorneys who serve LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants, and seeking legal
reform.
Complainants are 13 gay and transgender immigrants detained by DHS’s Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at various facilities nationwide, including Service
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights | National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1818, Chicago, Illinois 60604 | ph: 312-660-1370 | fax: 312-660-1505 |
www.immigrantjustice.org

To: Margo Schlanger
April 13, 2011
Page 2 of 8

Processing Centers (SPCs), Contract Detention Facilities (CDFs), and facilities detaining
immigrants pursuant to intergovernmental service agreements (IGSAs).
NIJC represents the following clients:
1. Steve
2. Alexis
3. Ce Ce
4. Juan
5. Delfino
6. Brenda
7. Monica
8. Xiomara
9. Estrella
10. Jessica
11. Shelley
12. Lucia
13. Jayle
In addition to these 13 clients, NIJC continues to represent [Raquel], who previously filed
a complaint with CRCL on July 22, 2010. ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility
(OPR) opened an investigation pursuant to referral from CRCL of [Raquel]’s complaint.
To date, nine months later, no findings have been issued. Similarly, NIJC obtained
permission to reference the complaint of “T” in the Appendix to this complaint, who also
recently filed a complaint with CRCL based on her sexual assault and lack of mental
health care.1 We request that CRCL revisit the complaints of [Raquel] and T in its
review of the systemic issues raised by today’s filings.
Reports of abuse from NIJC’s 13 clients, as well as the mistreatment suffered by [Raquel]
and T, occurred in detention facilities and county jails nationwide – in Arizona,
California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin
– highlighting the systemic nature of this problem. These individuals allege harsh
mistreatment and abuse in DHS custody, including:






Sexual assault
Denial of adequate medical care
Long-term solitary confinement
Discrimination and abuse
Ineffective complaints and appeals process

As is clear from the enclosed statements, the complainants’ treatment was not reasonably
related to any legitimate safety or security objective. Under the Due Process clause of the

1

The individual is referenced as “T” to protect privacy and confidentiality.

To: Margo Schlanger
April 13, 2011
Page 3 of 8

Fifth Amendment, inflicting arbitrary conditions of detention upon civil detainees is
considered punitive and is not constitutionally permissible.2
Sexual Assault
Some of the most egregious complaints involve sexual assault and abuse. As numerous
reports have demonstrated, sexual abuse is widespread in immigration detention.3 As in
previous complaints and reports, DHS officers and contracted staff were unable or
unwilling to protect or provide counseling services to victims of sexual abuse. For
example:


[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)



T was sexually assaulted by a guard while in segregation. Subsequent to this
assault, she was only provided with cursory mental health counseling despite
experiencing serious trauma. Following this incident she was granted
Withholding of Removal but remained in ICE custody for a further three months.
During this time she suffered another sexual assault at the same facility. (Eloy
Detention Center, Arizona)

Denial of Adequate Medical Care
HIV-Positive Individuals
Constitutionally mandated due process protections include the right to privacy and the
right to adequate medical care. HIV-positive individuals in DHS custody experience the
denial of these rights. The following two cases document these issues:


2

[Steve] describes how he was transported to a doctor’s appointment for an HIV
checkup while his feet, waist, and hands were shackled. A doctor and a nurse
repeatedly asked the facility officer to remove the shackles so that they could
draw blood. The officer refused. [Steve] explained:

Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979); Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918 (9th Cir. 2004); Seling v. Young, 531
U.S. 250 (2001).
3
See National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, “Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response,
and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in Adult Prisons and Jails: Supplemental Standards for Facilities with
Immigration Detainees” (NPREC Report), June 2009, http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/226680.pdf, p. 174188; Human Rights Watch, Detained and at Risk: Sexual Abuse and Harassment in United States
Immigration Detention, August 25, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2010/08/25/detained-and-risk-0;
Women's Refugee Commission, Halfway Home: Unaccompanied Children in Immigration Custody,
February 2009, http://bit.ly/dZbgPo.

To: Margo Schlanger
April 13, 2011
Page 4 of 8

“Even though the nurses and doctors asked them, that they could
not withdraw blood like that, the officers from CCA [Corrections
Corporation of America] didn’t care, and they had to take blood
from my hand, and even though I cried from pain, they didn’t
care.”
Having learned of [Steve]’s HIV status, facility staff mocked [Steve].
(Houston Processing Center, Texas)


[Alexis] encountered a number of serious problems accessing her HIV medication
and receiving the results of medical tests. On one occasion, she was advised by
medical staff that they had no anti-viral medication available because the medical
log was for 30 days only, and once the 30-day period had lapsed, detainees were
required to re-request their medication. This resulted in [Alexis] missing her HIV
treatment for a week. (Santa Ana City Jail, California)

Transgender Individuals
Transgender individuals – those who do not identify with the gender assigned to them at
birth – often meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (GID). The
American Psychiatric Association recognizes GID and has set forth GID diagnostic
criteria.4 The standard of care for treating GID includes, inter alia, the provision of
hormone therapy to individuals who wish to conform their physical appearance to their
gender identification.5
Courts have uniformly recognized that GID is a serious medical condition, and that
failure to treat gender dysphoric individuals in prisons is a violation of the Eighth
Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.6
As documented in the enclosed statements, ICE officials deny hormone treatment to
detained transgender individuals. Santa Ana City Jail, California, for example, maintains
a blanket policy of denying hormone treatment to detainees. Individuals detained at this
facility report distress and depression due to the withdrawal of hormone treatment. As the
following complaint indicates:

4

See Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revised (DSM-IVTR).
5
See World Professional Association for Transgender Health, Standards of Care for Gender Identity
Disorders, 6th Edition, 2001, http://www.wpath.org/publications_standards.cfm
6
Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d 408, 413 (7th Cir. 1987). Other circuits are in accord. Cuoco v.
Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99, 106 (2d Cir. 2000); De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 634 (4th Cir. 2003);
Phillips v. Mich. Dept. of Corr., 932 F.2d 969 (6th Cir. 1991), affg. 731 F.Supp. 792 (W.D. Mich. 1990);
White v. Farrier, 849 F.2d 322, 325-327 (8th Cir. 1988); Allard v. Gomez, 9 Fed. Appx. 793, 794 (9th Cir.
2001); Brown v. Zavaras, 63 F.3d 967, 970 (10th Cir. 1995). No circuit has held otherwise. See also
O’Donnabhain v. C.I.R., 134 T.C . No. 4 (U.S. Tax Ct. 2010) (recognizing hormone therapy and sex
reassignment surgery as accepted GID treatments for which medical expense deduction is allowable).

To: Margo Schlanger
April 13, 2011
Page 5 of 8



[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 traumarelated depression. She attempted suicide in February 2011 – the facility put her
in solitary confinement as punishment. (Santa Ana City Jail, California)

Long-Term Solitary Confinement
ICE detained a number of the complainants in restrictive segregation – ranging from
solitary confinement to “lock down” in their cells for 22 hours per day. Complainants
endured this treatment for extended periods – up to months at a time – without formal
determinations of the necessity of segregation and without an appeals process. At least
one court has found that a blanket policy of placing transgender immigration detainees in
restrictive segregation, absent articulation of a specific need to do so, violates due process
rights.7 Other practices and policies detailed in the complaints, such as restricting access
to recreation and reading material, are blatantly punitive in nature and thus violate
constitutional protections. As the following complaints highlight:


[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 nineby-thirteen-foot cell – per day. (Houston Processing Center, Texas)



[Raquel]’s freedom of movement was restricted and she was denied privileges
such as reading material available to the general population. (McHenry County
Jail, Illinois)



Sexual minorities were assigned to 22-hour lock down (“protective custody”)
without individualized analysis of the need for this restriction, and without
affording detainees the opportunity to rebut this classification. Individuals in
“protective custody” had far less freedom of movement and access to recreation
than individuals in the general population. Facility staff often restricted recreation
time for sexual minorities to less than one hour a day. (Theo Lacy Facility,
California)

ICE’s recent issuance of guidance (“Housing Directive”) on restrictive housing
assignments8 does not sufficiently address detention facilities’ inability to provide safe,
unsegregated and unrestrictive housing for a vulnerable detainee. The Housing Directive
proposes transferring the individual to another facility; that does not address the issue.
Rather than shuffling detainees between inadequate detention centers, as happened for
7
8

Medina-Tejada v. Sacramento County, 2006 WL 463158 (E.D.Cal. 2006).
Enforcement & Removal Operations, “Field Guidance on Classification,” March 7, 2011.

To: Margo Schlanger
April 13, 2011
Page 6 of 8

several of the individuals submitting complaints, ICE should acknowledge its inability to
provide legally adequate detention conditions and prioritize alternatives to detention.
Discrimination and Abuse
Sexual minority individuals experience continuous harassment, humiliation, and
discrimination from facility staff and ICE personnel while detained. For example:


[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)



[Raquel] suffered severe psychological abuse by, and with the acquiescence of,
facility staff. After months of strain, [Raquel] had a mental breakdown at and was
transferred to the hospital ward of another detention facility. (Kenosha County
Detention Center and Kenosha County Jail, Wisconsin, and McHenry County
Jail)



After [Juan] suffered a sexual assault motivated in part by his perceived
effeminacy, a guard at the same facility told him publicly, “Walk like a man, not
like a gay man.” (Otero County Detention Center, New Mexico)

Other complaints previously filed by detainees nationwide further demonstrate the scope
of this endemic and severe mistreatment.9 Like policies that result in the segregation of
sexual minority detainees, the pattern and practice of animus-motivated abuse by facility
staff constitutes impermissibly punitive conditions of confinement. Unless and until ICE
is able to ensure that the basic dignity of sexual minorities in immigration detention will
be respected, these civil rights violations will persist.
Recommendations
NIJC urges CRCL to work with DHS, ICE and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to
implement the following recommendations set forth in order to ensure the civil and
human rights of individuals held in the immigration detention system.
1. ICE cannot detain sexual minorities until it ensures compliance with
constitutional and human rights protections. These complaints establish that ICE
is not capable of ensuring non-punitive detention conditions for sexual minorities.
Accordingly, ICE should:
o Consider an individual’s likely vulnerability to abuse in detention and
place individuals whom it cannot protect into alternatives to detention
programs consistent with the implementation of an individualized
assessment.
9

See Appendix.

To: Margo Schlanger
April 13, 2011
Page 7 of 8

o For those facially subject to mandatory detention, consider release in
compliance with the doctrine of constitutional avoidance. Congress
cannot have intended that ICE detain immigrants in punitive conditions.10
2. ICE must issue guidance requiring compliance with treatment plans for chronic
medical conditions, as determined by independent experts. ICE must issue
guidelines specific to particular recurring chronic conditions, such as HIV/AIDS
and GID, clarifying facility responsibilities once these conditions have been
diagnosed.
3. ICE must ensure confidentiality regarding medical conditions and exercise
discretion regarding complaints.
4. ICE should revisit the Housing Directive, or issue new guidance, clarifying that
transgender detainees can and should be detained according to their self-identified
gender.
5. ICE must immediately conduct a review of all SPC, CDF, and IGSA facilities to
determine whether they have non-discrimination policies that encompass sexual
orientation and gender identity, and whether facility staff receive adequate
training relating to needs of sexual minorities. ICE should engage nongovernmental organizations to create training and facility guidelines that respond
to the particular concerns of sexual minority immigrants, many of whom are
traumatized and vulnerable asylum seekers. Compliance with the training and
guidelines should be required in any forthcoming detention standards and any
contractual agreements between ICE and detention facilities.
6. DHS and DOJ must ensure that detained immigrants are adequately protected
against sexual assault by adopting the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
rules.11 For example, all facilities must have protocols for responding to abuse
reported by detainees through third-party channels, and ensure proper follow up
on such reports. Mental health services and monitoring must be provided
immediately and continuously following reported abuse.
7. DHS must ensure that an effective, accessible and transparent complaints process
is available to detained individuals to report instances of abuse. Investigations into
complaints of mistreatment must be timely and comprehensive and detainees must
be informed of the outcome of these investigations. Further, findings must be
10

Casas-Castrillon v. Dept. of Homeland Security, 535 F.3d 942 (9th. Cir. 2008) (applying canon of
constitutional avoidance to find that INA § 236(c) contains a “reasonableness” limitation to the facial
mandatory detention requirement).
11
DOJ’s proposed PREA-implementing rule currently exempts immigration detention facilities. See NIJC
public comments regarding National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape, Docket
No. OAG-131, AG Order No. 3244-2011, submitted April 4, 2011, to www.regulations.gov, tracking
number 80c1be42.

To: Margo Schlanger
April 13, 2011
Page 8 of 8

promptly addressed and recommendations implemented, including policy changes
at facilities, disciplinary action, contract termination and staff dismissal, where
appropriate.
Thank you for your attention to these complaints and to the civil and human rights
violations that exist in the immigration detention system. We look forward to your
response and the implementation of meaningful reform.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mary Meg McCarthy at
mmccarthy@heartlandalliance.org or (312) 660-1351 or Eric Berndt at
eberndt@heartlandalliance.org or (312) 660-1364.
Sincerely,

Mary Meg McCarthy
Executive Director

Eric Berndt
Supervising Attorney
National Asylum Partnership on Sexual
Minorities

Enclosures

Cc:

Richard L. Skinner, DHS Inspector General
Kelly Ryan, DHS Office of Policy
Beth Gibson, ICE Assistant Director
Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, Office of State and Local Coordination

DETENTION COMPLAINT #1

Background
Legal Name: Steve
Preferred Name: Steve
Date of Birth: [Redacted]

Redacted Copy for Public
Distribution
Complainants’ full names and
personal information have been
removed from this document in
order to protect their privacy.

A#: [Redacted]
Nationality: [South American]
Period in ICE Custody: December 7, 2009 to December 17, 2010
Detention Facility: Houston Processing Center, Texas (HPC)
Status of Immigration Proceedings: Granted Withholding of Removal on December
15, 2010; Appealing asylum denial before the Board of Immigration Appeals
(represented in appeal proceedings)
Particular Health Need: HIV positive
[Steve]’s Complaints of Mistreatment in ICE Custody
The facts contained in this complaint were obtained during a video conference (via
internet) with [Steve] on March 14, 2011 and are also based on a written statement
drafted by [Steve] which was provided to ICE in November 2010.
1.

Abuse, Humiliation and Discrimination by CCA Personnel in Dorm B-16 at
HPC

On December 7, 2009, [Steve] arrived at HPC, which is operated by Corrections
Corporation of America (CCA). As [Steve] describes, “My hell began the moment I
entered the CCA facility.”
When [Steve] first arrived at the facility he kept a low profile. However, in or around
February 2010, he became more familiar with the officers and detainees and he revealed
to them that he was gay. [Steve] never experienced any problems from his fellowdetainees, he felt respected among them. However, once the CCA guards became aware
of [Steve]’s homosexuality, “my life became a torment.” The officers began to instigate
rumors about [Steve] and smile, snigger and stare at him in the dorm.

Complainant: Steve
Page 2 of 8

The first period of [Steve]’s immigration detention was in dorm B-16 at HPC. During his
detention in B-16 a new guard was appointed to the dorm, Officer [redacted]. The first
day that Officer [redacted] was on duty she said to [Steve] “I know punks like you [a
reference to his homosexuality] in TDC [Texas Department of Corrections] and you
better not try to fuck around in my dorm because I am the officer here.” [Steve] never
responded to her comments, however that same night he was transferred to dorm B-3,
despite the fact that he already been in dorm B-16 for almost three months and had never
encountered any problems.
2. Excessive Use of Force During HIV Medical Examination by CCA Personnel
In approximately January 2010, [Steve]’s former attorney arranged for him to visit Dr.
[redacted] at the Thomas Street Health Center to obtain blood work in relation to his HIV
treatment. [Steve] was shackled at his feet, waist and hands for the entire medical
examination. The nurse requested of the CCA officer to remove [Steve]’s handcuffs in
order to extract blood, but the officer refused. The nurse and doctor both explained to the
CCA officer that it was extremely painful to have blood drawn if [Steve] was still
shackled, but the officer still refused to remove them.
As a result, the nurse was forced to extract blood from the veins on the back of his hand
which was traumatic for [Steve]. Similarly, the CCA officer refused to remove his
handcuffs and chains during the x-ray, so that he also underwent this part of the
examination completely shackled. As [Steve] explained:
“Even though the nurses and doctors asked them, that they could not withdraw
blood like that, the officers from CCA didn’t care, and they had to take blood
from my hand, and even though I cried from pain, they didn’t care.”
Over the course of [Steve]’s immigration detention at HPC he attended approximately
three to four appointments at the Thomas Street Health Center. Officers routinely failed
to coordinate his transportation to these appointments delaying his access to appropriate
medical treatment.
3. Abuse, Humiliation and Discrimination by CCA Personnel in Dorm B-3 at HPC
In dorm B-3, [Steve] was supervised by Officers [redacted]. Officer [redacted] frequently
told [Steve] that he would “burn in hell” for being gay, that he was a “damn shame” to
the Latino community and that if she was the chief warden, she would put him in
segregation “forever.” On one particular occasion, in approximately April 2010, Officer
[redacted] told [Steve] that if he was deported and tried to reenter, she would like to “fill
the Rio Bravo with piranhas and alligators” so that [Steve] could not return because, she
continued, the U.S. “does not need faggots.” And if [Steve] “made it over the river” she
would put “mines on the border.” [Steve] found this abuse incredibly painful, especially
since it was said in front of at least ten other detainees. [Steve] tried to raise this incident
with the Unit Manager, Officer [redacted], but was told, “I am busy right now – get your
ass out of my office.”

Complainant: Steve
Page 3 of 8

Further, Officer [redacted], also a guard in dorm B-3, would make continuous
discriminatory remarks against [Steve]. She routinely monitored [Steve]’s bathroom
movements and on one occasion said to him, “I don’t know why you look at yourself in
the mirror so often, you are not a woman,” and then she called [Steve] a “bitch.” [Steve]
asked her not to use such derogatory language because it was disrespectful to women,
like his mother, but Officer [redacted] just laughed and ridiculed [Steve] for his
comments. On a separate occasion, the guards undertook a shakedown of all the lockers
and Officer [redacted] accused [Steve] in front of the entire dorm – approximately 40
individuals – of having a “dildo” hidden in his locker. [Steve] did not have a dildo in his
locker, but he did not attempt to raise his complaint of mistreatment with the Unit
Manager, because he felt that nobody at HPC would listen.
Officer [redacted] also continually threatened to transfer [Steve] out of dorm B-3 because
“I have never had anyone strange [a reference to [Steve]’s homosexuality] here before
and I am not going to allow it.” On one day in May 2010, she told [Steve] that she
“cannot handle homosexuals” in her dorm any longer and then she falsely accused
[Steve] of making too much noise and “horse-playing” in the shower which, ultimately
resulted in [Steve]’s transfer to yet another dorm – B-1.
[Steve] was later advised that he was transferred because during shower time, Officer
[redacted] saw a fellow detainee touch his backside and accused [Steve] of engaging in
“horse-play.” However, [Steve] vehemently denied the allegation and sought to report
that those events did not take place. Nevertheless, the next day [Steve] was summoned to
Chief Officer [redacted]’s office. When he arrived, Assistant Warden [redacted] and Unit
Manager Officer [redacted] were also present at his office. Chief Officer [redacted] then
said to [Steve], “What the fuck are you doing in my place? Are you fucking around or
something like that? Are you having sex with somebody?” [Steve] did not know or
understand what Chief Officer [redacted] was referring to, because none of the incidents
that he described had occurred. [Steve] tried to defend himself and explain that the
incident was fabricated, to which Chief Officer [redacted] eventually responded “Ok
man, get your ass out of here.”
4. Delay and Denial of Access to HIV Medication at HPC
Beginning in approximately late May or early June 2010, [Steve], by then held in dorm
B-1, encountered further discrimination, humiliation and mistreatment from the officers
in that dorm. For example, [Steve] slept on the bottom of bunk 7, and Officer [redacted]
would continually hover in front of [Steve] and follow him around the dorm to monitor
his “every move” and stare at him.
Often, in the morning, when [Steve] could hear his name called over the radio that he was
required at pill-collection, Officer [redacted] would not permit him to attend to collect his
HIV medication. This resulted in [Steve] missing his medication or in him being unable
to take it at the prescribed times, sometimes without food. [Steve] filed numerous

Complainant: Steve
Page 4 of 8

complaints about this recurring issue with Captain [redacted], which was then referred to
Officer [redacted], but these complaints were ignored. As [Steve] explained:
“[Officer redacted] made attempts against my life and my health because I have
to take my medication on an empty stomach, it is very sensitive treatment. HIV is
not a joke. I suffered a lot because even though I complained, nobody would do
anything, nobody can imagine my suffering and my tears, and the impotence of
feeling like I could not do anything.”
When [Steve] tried to raise his complaint about Officer [redacted] with Chief Officer
[redacted] he said “What the fuck do you want, man?” Following these comments [Steve]
simply left his office because in “that moment I knew that no one would help me.”
[Steve] also complained to Officer [redacted] and told her that he intended to raise his
complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General
(OIG). But Officer [redacted] told him not to complain to the OIG, that she would speak
to Officer [redacted] directly about his mistreatment of [Steve] and that “everything will
be fixed.” Afraid of further retaliation and based on Officer [redacted]’s assurances,
[Steve] did not file a complaint with the OIG. Again, nothing changed, except that
ultimately [Steve] was transferred to yet another dorm.
5. Excessive Use of Force, Abuse & Breach of Confidentiality by CCA Personnel
During the course of [Steve]’s immigration proceedings, Immigration Judge [redacted]
requested that [Steve] obtain a letter from a doctor evidencing the abuse that he had
experienced in [his native country]. [Steve]’s former attorney arranged an appointment
for him with an external physician and instructed [Steve] to fill out a request form with
ICE for transportation to the appointment. [Steve] completed that request, however,
Deportation Officer [redacted] did not make the necessary arrangements and so he was
not transported to the physician on that occasion. As a result, [Steve]’s immigration case
was continued to allow him additional time to visit the physician. After [Steve]’s attorney
intervened, [Steve] filed another request for transportation to the physician (see enclosed
“ICE Immigration Special Correspondence” dated September 24, 2010). On October 29,
2010 [Steve] was finally seen by Dr. [redacted].
However, [Steve] states that this turned into “one of the most horrible days of my life.”
First, a female officer from Transcorp America, refused to leave Dr. [redacted]’s room
during [Steve]’s consultation. Dr. [redacted] asked the officer several times for privacy
with his patient, however, the officer refused to leave. [Steve] was then required to
provide the doctor with an extensive medical history, including extremely sensitive
information regarding his sexual history and contraction of the HIV virus. At several
stages during the consultation, the female officer made comments about his “sickness” in
response to the information that [Steve] provided to the doctor.
For example, when [Steve] identified the individual from whom he believes he contracted
HIV, the officer interrupted “You got to know your boyfriend better next time.” Further,
when [Steve] disclosed to the doctor the circumstances that had given rise to his

Complainant: Steve
Page 5 of 8

immigration detention, the officer interjected, “You got to get yourself a different
boyfriend.” She also continued to make facial gestures and body language implying that
she was disgusted by the extremely personal matters that [Steve] had just revealed.
Several times again, Dr. [redacted] insisted that the officer leave, but she refused.
Dr. [redacted] then asked the officer to remove the handcuffs and chains from [Steve].
The officer refused to do this too, but eventually, went to ask her supervisor for his
approval. When she returned to the room, she removed the shackles, but told [Steve] that
she would “gas” him and that she was stronger than him and that she would “knock you
to the ground and give you a beating like no one has ever done before” if he tried to move
out of the chair. Dr. [redacted] tried to reassure him in Spanish that he was trying to assist
[Steve] and that he understood the immense pain and trauma he was experiencing during
the consultation.
Further, on the return trip from the clinic, the officers in the van went through [Steve]’s
medical paper work in front of him, commenting on his medical history and reviewing
the doctor’s findings. These documents contained both confidential medical information
and private information relevant to [Steve]’s asylum claim.
Following the incident, [Steve] filed a complaint against the officers. Some CCA officials
interviewed [Steve] in relation to the complaint. At the time, [Steve] explained:
“I didn’t tell them [CCA officers] everything, because I am afraid, I am here in
the well [segregation] with no one who can help me, and they can make
attempts against my health or my life and nobody would find out about it, I am
very scared about what could happen to me.”
After [Steve]’s former attorney contacted ICE in relation to the incident, [Steve] suffered
retaliation by CCA officials who told him “we are tired of you making trouble for us.”
Shortly after these violations were reported, [Steve] was placed in segregation for the
remainder of his period in immigration custody at HPC, almost six weeks.
6. Failure to Properly Investigate Complaints and Resulting Abuse at HPC
Approximately three months after [Steve]’s arrival in dorm B-1, another detainee arrived,
[detainee’s name redacted]. Mr. [detainee’s name redacted] was confined to a wheelchair
and reported to be from a “Mexican mafia family.” When he found out that [Steve] is gay
he told him “we don’t accept fags here” and to arrange to switch dorms “else you are
going to get it.” [Steve] was extremely concerned about this threat and sought to raise the
issue with Chief Officer [redacted]. As [Steve] explained:
“But he never called me to his office because he would see me through the
window in the door and make gestures that I leave and that he was busy and he
would look at me with much disdain…”

Complainant: Steve
Page 6 of 8

Two weeks later when [Steve] still remained in dorm B-1, Mr. [detainee’s name
redacted] fabricated an incident to try and initiate [Steve]’s transfer from the dorm. Mr.
[detainee’s name redacted] reported that [Steve] was sexually involved with another
detainee in B-1, [detainee’s name redacted]. Chief Officer [redacted] conducted an
“investigation” into the report by interviewing both [Steve] and Mr. [detainee’s name
redacted], and other detainees in dorm B-1 and by reviewing the security camera footage.
Despite the fact that all the statements from detainees and camera footage confirmed that
no relationship existed, [Steve] was transferred back to dorm B-16. As [Steve] explained:
“That day she [Chief Officer redacted] asked me if anyone had every
propositioned me sexually and I say no, but I told her that I had been threatened
by the individual in the wheel chair [detainee’s name redacted]. But I think she
took it as a joke because they never investigated anything about the threat, and
they moved me to a top bunk, 2 top in B-16 dorm.”
[Steve] suffered tremendously during those first two weeks in dorm B-16. He was
experiencing extreme back pain and had great difficulty climbing to the top bunk. He
raised this issue with Captain [redacted] and he was moved to a bottom bunk. However,
soon after his bunk change was confirmed, [Steve] was called to Assistant Warden
[redacted]’s office. When he arrived, Officer [redacted] was also present and the officers
re-questioned [Steve] about the false allegations regarding Mr. [detainee’s name
redacted]. [Steve] insisted that no relationship existed and that the report was a
fabrication by Mr. [detainee’s name redacted]. However, Assistant Warden [redacted]
told [Steve] that he did not believe him and that “I will throw you in segregation because
I am sick of your homosexual shit.” Subsequently, Assistant Warden [redacted] called
Chief Officer [redacted] and Chief Officer [redacted] to attend the meeting, where the
discussion about the incident and the threat of segregation continued.
[Steve] deeply feared segregation, particularly because he believed that his HIV health
needs were unlikely to be met in segregation. He eventually revealed to the officers that
he is HIV positive in order to try and dissuade them from sending him to segregation. As
[Steve] explained:
“…and he didn’t believe me and said that he would put me in segregation and
they were pressuring me until I felt like I had to confess to them my health
problem and I told them that I would not do anything so awful as to have relations
with someone else knowing that I was HIV positive, and I didn’t want to tell them
that because it was something so private and delicate but they had me under so
much pressure accusing me of having done something that I had not done…and it
was at that moment that he told me that I was very dangerous for his detainees
and his officers being HIV positive and that I should be confined to
segregation. Then I went back to B-16, he kicked me out of his office, as always in
a bad way…”

Complainant: Steve
Page 7 of 8

7. Misuse of Segregation at HPC – First Incident
Approximately one month later in October 2010, a fellow-detainee, [detainee’s name
redacted], was transferred to dorm B-16. He taught [Steve] how to read the Bible and
introduced him to the Christian faith. Together with Mr. [detainee’s name redacted] and
Minister [redacted], [Steve] became increasingly interested in religion as a distraction
from the mistreatment he had experienced in immigration detention and his past abuse in
[his native country]. [Steve] describes how religion “rescued me from depression.”
However, the detainee who shared a bunk with Mr. [detainee’s name redacted] was
homophobic and would tell Mr. [detainee’s name redacted] not to read the Bible with
[Steve]. The same individual subsequently made a false complaint to Unit Manager
[redacted], that [Steve] was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with Mr.
[detainee’s name redacted]. As a result, both [Steve] and Mr. [detainee’s name redacted]
were immediately placed in disciplinary segregation for three days. When the officers
investigated the complaint they concluded that no relationship of any sort, other than a
friendship based on mutual religious interest, existed between [Steve] and Mr. [detainee’s
name redacted] and they were returned to the general population. [Steve], however, was
transferred to dorm B-14, while Mr. [detainee’s name redacted] was returned to B-16. In
the process of his transfer to dorm B-14, [Steve] encountered Assistant Ward [redacted]
in the hallway, at which time he said to [Steve] “I’ll put your ass in seg, you’ll see, I’m
tired of you, I don’t want to see you no more.”
8. Misuse of Segregation at HPC – Second Incident
On November 3, 2010, [Steve] left a note for his friend Mr. [detainee’s name redacted]
under the door of dorm B-16. The note was read and reviewed by the guards in dorm B16. Later that day, officers arrived at dorm B-14, handcuffed and shackled [Steve] and
transferred him to segregation. [Steve] was held in segregation from this date until he was
granted Withholding of Removal and released from custody on December 15, 2010 – a
five and a half week period.
[Steve] made several requests to CCA enquiring abut the basis and duration of his
segregation. Most of these requests were ignored (see for example, enclosure “CCA
Request Form” dated November 8, 2010). On one occasion, [Steve] made contact with
Officer [redacted], the official purportedly responsible for detainee complaints, during a
routine walk-through of the segregation unit. She advised [Steve] that CCA could
essentially keep him in segregation for any reason.
On another occasion, Assistant Warden [redacted] told [Steve] that because he is HIV
positive, he was placed in segregation to protect CCA staff and other detainees. During a
visit from Chief Officer [redacted] on November 11, 2010, she told him that he was in
segregation for “not keeping your word.” She stated that he would stay in segregation
until he was released by the immigration judge or deported. [Steve] requested to speak
with Chief Officer [redacted]’s supervisor but she told him it was unnecessary because
“he agrees with me.” She went on to make insinuations about [Steve]’s sexual

Complainant: Steve
Page 8 of 8

orientation. [Steve] sent a request to speak with the Chief Warden, but that request went
unanswered.
[Steve]’s former attorney made several inquiries into the basis and duration of his
segregation, but no proper reasoning or documentation was ever made available.
[Steve] was held in the most heightened form of segregation – He was handcuffed and
shackled for movement to the showers, medical appointments and for meetings with his
former attorney. He lost ten pounds during this period in the segregation unit due to
heightened anxiety and depression. [Steve] was held for the entire period in a cell by
himself. The cell had a small, tiny window-opening on the door, at which he would
sometimes stand to try and watch the television that was playing in the common area.
[Steve]’s Bible was confiscated from him when he was placed in segregation. He made
several requests for its return. He eventually received a copy of the Bible after four weeks
of requests.
The HPC facility does not have separate facilities for individuals detained for disciplinary
and administrative purposes. The only means of contact that [Steve] had with other
individuals in the unit was by talking to a fellow detainee through the shared wall. One of
those individuals was also a gay man, held in segregation because of his HIV status.
On or around November 22, 2010, [Steve]’s former attorney raised his complaints with
the OIG. After [Steve] was released from custody on December 17, 2010 he was called to
attend DHS’s local office in Houston for an interview in relation to his complaint.
Neither [Steve], nor his former attorney, has had any further contact from DHS since that
interview.

DETENTION COMPLAINT #2

Background
Redacted Copy for Public
Distribution

Legal Name: [Redacted]
Preferred Name: Alexis
Date of Birth: [Redacted]
A#: [Redacted]

Complainants’ full names and
personal information have been
removed from this document in
order to protect their privacy.

Nationality: [Central American]
Period in ICE Custody: August 8, 2010 to February 10, 2011
Detention Facility: August 8, 2010 to September 29, 2010 at Theo Lacy Facility,
California (Theo Lacy); September 29, 2010 to February 10, 2011 at Santa Ana City Jail,
California (Santa Ana)
Status of Immigration Proceedings: Granted Withholding of Removal on February 9,
2011 (represented in immigration proceedings)
Particular Health Needs: Transgender; HIV positive; Hormone therapy; Medicated for
anxiety and depression
[Alexis]’s Complaints of Mistreatment in ICE Custody
The facts contained in this complaint were obtained via written correspondence in
November 2010 to February 2011 and during an in-person interview with [Alexis] at
offices in Santa Ana, California on March 3, 2011.
1. 22 Hour-Lock Down at Theo Lacy
[Alexis] was held in immigration custody at Theo Lacy from August 8, 2010 to
September 29, 2010. For this entire period, [Alexis] was held on daily 22 hour-lock down
in her cell.
During the period that [Alexis] was detained at Theo Lacy, transgender and gay detainees
were detained in a 30 cell-pod surrounding a common room. At the time, approximately
ten cells held transgender and gay individuals. The rest of the pod was made up of nongay or transgender detainees on a higher security classification. The pod did not
differentiate between the various security levels but rather classified all individuals as
“protective custody” cases. Every detainee in this pod was subject to 22 hour-lock down,
with two hours for time in the shared “dayroom.” Officers ordinarily released a limited

Complainant: Alexis
Page 2 of 5

number of individuals into the dayroom for two hours, and then moved on to the next
group of individuals. Officers released the transgender and gay individuals as their own
group. However, the sexual minorities group often had their dayroom time cut short from
two hours to 45 minutes. In some instances, [Alexis] did not receive any dayroom time at
all, without any apparent reason.
On one particular occasion, [Alexis] asked Officer [redacted] the reason that dayroom
was cut short, to which he responded “Because you need to learn not to be faggots” and
“it’s not a pretty picture to see you [in the dayroom].”
[Alexis] received the same bagged lunch meal every day for the entire period of her
immigration detention at Theo Lacy – a bologna sandwich.
2. Mistreatment by Jail Personnel at Theo Lacy
[Alexis] was subject to numerous incidents of sexual discrimination in immigration
custody at Theo Lacy. For example, Officer [redacted] would often respond to questions
raised by the gay and transgender detainees with the insult, “Well, who asked you to be a
faggot?”
In another instance, [Alexis] was waiting in line to give an officer her legal mail. There
were two heterosexual ICE detainees ahead of her in the line. The officer accepted their
mail. However, when it came to [Alexis]’s turn, the officer refused to take her legal mail
and told her to “lock it down,” meaning, “get in your cell and shut up.” She told the
officer that the legal mail was urgent, but the officer continued to refuse to accept her
mail. When [Alexis] continued to protest, the officer grabbed [Alexis] by the arm and
threw her into her cell. At the time, the officer was wearing latex gloves and [Alexis]
developed a skin rash. When she saw a medical professional regarding the rash, the
offending officer was also present at the examination, at which time it was revealed to
him that [Alexis] is HIV positive. The officer responded, “I didn’t know that you were
HIV positive. Well, when you die I will send flowers to the funeral.”
Further, Deputy [redacted] would frequently threaten the detainees in [Alexis]’s pod that
any punishment or trouble caused by an individual in custody could be raised with the
immigration judge and could impact on their immigration proceedings. For that reason,
[Alexis] was aware of a number of individuals who did not raise concerns or file
complaints of mistreatment because they were concerned that this would result in the
court looking unfavorably upon them.
3. Denial of Personal Hygiene Items for Sexual Minorities at Theo Lacy
“Everything was a battle” for gay and transgender detainees at Theo Lacy. Despite
numerous requests, [Alexis] was not provided with a bra at Theo Lacy. Responding to
one of her requests for a bra, the officer said “Why do you need a bra if you are a man?”
Further, on several occasions the gay and transgender detainees requested additional
toiletries, particularly toilet paper. However, the guards did not provide toilet paper

Complainant: Alexis
Page 3 of 5

“Because you are faggots.” Often when [Alexis] or her fellow-detainees would push the
button for assistance, the guards would respond “What do you want, you fucking
faggot?”
Further, for small, seemingly minor infractions staff would deprive all gay and
transgender detainees of dayroom privileges. As a result, individuals would remain on
permanent lock down in their cells except for brief shower breaks. These “infractions”
included having extra towels, using crayons for makeup, and keeping extra shaving
razors to use as tweezers. The officers would routinely conduct random searches of cells
for “contraband” including these items. These searches fell upon transgender detainees at
a rate far higher than the rest of the individuals detained in “protective custody.”
4. Inappropriate Searches and Verbal Abuse Based on Sexual Orientation at Theo
Lacy
During random searches, strip searches also occurred. All detainees were required to strip
to their briefs, including transgender individuals. Transgender detainees were therefore
bare-chested in front of all the officers, including male officers, and other detainees in the
common room. Officers often made comments to transgender individuals such as “Why
do you have breasts, when you are man?” In one instance, Deputy [redacted] said of
[Alexis]’s breasts, “Those things are nasty. Why did you get them done?” Shortly after,
Deputy [redacted] said to another gay individual “Why are you a cocksucker?”
On another occasion, [Alexis] was exercising in her room bare-chested, as detainees only
received one change of clothes per day and she did not want to sweat in her uniform. The
officers ordered [Alexis] to put on her shirt, however, she refused stating that if she was
denied a bra and told that she should not have breasts because she was a man, she was
entitled to exercise shirtless like the other men in the pod. As a result, [Alexis] was
punished and placed in permanent lock down with no privileges for a week. She
requested a copy of the disciplinary complaint made against her and was advised that the
staff would provide it shortly, but she never received a copy.
5. Lack of Writing Materials and Breach of Confidentiality at Theo Lacy
For three weeks during [Alexis]’s immigration custody at Theo Lacy, there were no
envelopes available. When she raised this issue with ICE, she was advised to “ask the
deputies” at Theo Lacy. When she raised the same issue with staff at Theo Lacy, she was
told to raise it with ICE. [Alexis] filed two requests to speak to the sergeant in relation to
these complaints, which went unanswered.
Further, [Alexis] was aware that legal mail was supposed to be opened in front of
detainees. However, the legal mail was always already opened when it was delivered.

6. Delay and Denial of Access to HIV Medication at Santa Ana

Complainant: Alexis
Page 4 of 5

On September 20, 2010, [Alexis] was transferred to Santa Ana where she was also
subject to a number of incidents of mistreatment and discrimination. She was not
informed of the reasons for her transfer.
Throughout the entire course of [Alexis]’s immigration detention at Santa Ana (almost
five months) she never saw a medical doctor regarding her complex health needs.
In particular, [Alexis] encountered a number of serious problems with accessing her
blood work, anti-viral medication and HIV treatment. For example, in late October 2010,
[Alexis] went to collect her anti-viral medication. She was advised by the medical staff
that they had none available for her because the medical log was for 30 days only, and
that once the 30 day period had lapsed, detainees were required to re-request their
medication. This resulted in both [Alexis] and her cell mate (who is also HIV positive)
missing their respective HIV treatment for a week (see enclosed “Santa Ana Jail Medical
Form” dated October 23, 2010). At the time, [Alexis] arranged to see a mental health
worker regarding her anxiety and depression. She advised the mental health worker about
the delay in receiving her HIV pills, to which she responded, “I am not here for that, I am
just here for psych.”
In addition, [Alexis] was aware that she was required to take four different pills every day
as part of her HIV treatment, but often the medical staff at Santa Ana would provide her
with two pills only. When she asked for the additional pills she was told “we are out of
them.” [Alexis] filed several medical request forms to try and resolve this issue (see for
example, enclosed “Santa Ana Jail Medical Form” dated December 22, 2010). Despite
these requests, she was never “called-out” to see the doctor and the cocktail of drugs was
not modified.
On October 14, 2010, [Alexis] requested blood work for an update on her white blood
cell count. Blood work was not undertaken until January 27, 2011. At the time, she was
advised that the “results” would be available one week later. However, the results were
not made available then. [Alexis] filed two follow-up requests for the results in February
(see “Santa Ana Jail Inmate Request Form” dated February 4, 2011 and “Santa Ana Jail
Inmate Request Form” dated February 7, 2011). Eventually, the results were delivered to
[Alexis] at her cell. However, as the officer was walking up the stairs to deliver the
paperwork, [Alexis] observed that he was reading her confidential medical records. No
doctor or medical consultation was ever arranged to explain the results. [Alexis] noticed
that her CD4 count was 349, but she did not understand what this meant. Following her
release, she took the results to a private doctor. He advised [Alexis] that the medical
assessment undertaken at Santa Ana was inadequate and incomplete and that the
paperwork prepared by the facility’s medical unit was “meaningless” and unhelpful.
When [Alexis] was discharged from Santa Ana, the officers provided her with only one
week of HIV treatment-related medication. It took [Alexis] some time to arrange to see a
doctor once she was released, which resulted in her not receiving the appropriate
medication for one week.

Complainant: Alexis
Page 5 of 5

Further, the medical staff would frequently motion “flip-off” gestures to the gay and
transgender detainees. Throughout the course of her immigration detention, [Alexis] also
struggled with eye and back problems. She submitted numerous requests in relation to
these issues, and likewise was never able to see a doctor.
7. Denial of Access to Hormone Therapy at Santa Ana
[Alexis] had a doctor’s prescription for hormone therapy which she received during her
immigration detention at Theo Lacy. She made several requests for hormone therapy but
was advised by medical staff that Santa Ana had a blanket no-hormone therapy policy.
8. Strip Search Following Contact Visit with Attorney at Santa Ana
It is routine practice at Santa Ana for detainees to be strip searched, including a full
“bend-over” search, following a contact visit with an attorney. [Alexis] was strip
searched following each contact visit from her immigration attorney. In many cases, the
strip search was performed by a male officer.
9. Misuse of Segregation at Santa Ana
Towards the end of her immigration detention, [Alexis] shared a cell with another
individual who is HIV positive. When her cell-mate became increasingly depressed about
her diagnosis and her conditions of confinement, [Alexis] requested a transfer to another
cell. She was ultimately transferred to cell 17, but when she arrived, she saw that the cell
was extremely small and she felt extremely claustrophobic. When she raised this issue
with the guard he told her to go inside the cell and “lock it down.” However, [Alexis]
refused because entering the small cell was making her increasingly anxious and
claustrophobic. As a result of her refusal to enter the cell, she was punished with 30 days
in segregation. [Alexis] was denied a number of privileges in segregation – no books; no
commissary; and she was only allowed out of her cell for one hour per day.
On [Alexis]’s seventeenth day in segregation she was granted Withholding of Removal
and was released from immigration custody.

APPENDIX
TO MULTIINDIVIDUAL
COMPLAINT

From:

To:
Subject:
Date:

.,

I";'

Detained
Client
Thursday, July 22, 2010 2:25:00 PM

...
a.k.a.

A• • •LIt

Dear _ _ a n d _
I am writing in regards t o . C l i e n t _ ( a k a _ , a
transgender im~ from Mexico. ~ detai~-more than
one year. Ms. . . . was granted withholding of removal on June 17, 2010, due to the
continues to be
severe past persecution she suffered in Mexico. However, Ms. _
detained by ICE at Kenosha County Jail in Wisconsin and ICE has indicated that it intends to
detain her during the entire 90 day 'removal period,' despite the fact that she has been
granted withholding and no third country has been designated for removal.
While I understand that ICE has the authority to detain during the 90 'removal period,' I am
writing to request release for M s . _ due to the serious and on-going harassment and
degrading treatment that she has suffered in ICE detention. We have previously requested
release from M r . _ but were denied. Information regarding mistreatment by other
detainees and by ~affwere sent to ICE on April 30, 2010, and on June 3,2010.
Prior to being transferred to Kenosha, Ms._was (1) groped by jail statT, (2) placed in
administrative and solitary segregation and denied basic privileges during that time, and (3)
constantly threatened and harassed by detainees and jail staff, resulting in severe
psychological harm.
Since her transfer to Kenosha, Ms. _ _ has been detained in an all-male administrative
ated
segregation unit. In this unit, each cell is visible to at least part of the other se!!re
is
detainees. Each cell contains its own toilet and showering facilities, and Ms.
required to use these in full view of male detainees who threaten and verbally humi iate her
whenever she does so. Staff members at Kenosha Country Jail have not discouraged the
abuse and Ms. _
reports that they often laugh along with the detainees or join them in
had a psychological breakdown and
humiliating her. As a result of this abuse, Ms. _
attempted to stu~into her ears to block out detainee and guard voices. When staff
noticed that Ms. _ _was particularly distraught, they called medical and found her
bleeding from the nose, as a result of which she was transferred to the infirmary. As of our
.
most recent conversation with M s . _ she remains in the infirmary.
M s . _ is HIV-positive and, as mentioned above, is a victim of severe past abuse. She
has long sutfered from severe depression related to both her traumatic past and medical
condition and is, therefore, extremely vulnerable. Although ICE responded to Ms. _
request to be transferred from McHenry County Jail when sutTering abuse there, M s . _
has been harassed, humiliated, and denied basic privileges wherever ICE has placed her. In
light of M s . _ vulnerability, and in light of ICE's demonstrated inability to ensure her
safety and physical and mental well-being in detention, we request that Ms. •e
released from detention immediately. When released fcom ICE custody, Ms.
can
return t o _ , Illinois, to live with her mother and sister, with whom she speaks frequently.

Further infonnation: I can e-mail you (1) the IJ's decision, (2) previous requests for release .
to ICE, (3) previous notifications of mistreatment and harassment in ICE custody, and (4)
Ms.
s affidavit regarding the harassment she sutTered in ICE custody.
Please let me know if you need any further information. Thank you for your consideration of
this tragic case.
Sincerely,

UNITED STATES DEPARTl\1ENT OF HOl\1ELAND SECURITY
IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

AFFIDAVIT OF• • • •. . . a.k.a.

A
swear under penalty of perjury that the following is true and accurate:
1. My full legal name is
am trans gender and prefer to be call

in Mexico. I

2. On June 21. 2009, I was placed in ICE detention in ROCk Island, Illinois. On June 25,
2009. I was moved to a detention center in Kenosha. WI. On July 20. 2010, I was then
moved to ICE detention in McHenry. IL.
3. I am writing this affidavit to attest to the abuse.! have suffered at the hands of the officers
at McHenry County Jail while in ICE custody.
4. While in ICE custody for four days in Rock Island. Illinois. I was treated poorly by the
officers. They mocked me for being transgendered and called me names.
5. I have no complaints at this time related to my detention during June and July 2009 in
Kenosha.
6. Unfortunately. I was transferred to McHenry. IL where I was detained for almost nine
months and living" in hell. 1was completely isolated from the other inmates so that the
only human interaction! had was with officers who yelled at me. slam doors in my face,
called me names, and even physically assaulted me. I was told that I was kept in isolation
for my own protection from other prisoners, but guards and police officers at Kenosha
were able to protect from harm. threats of harm, and serious harassment.
7. In September of 2009, an officer began teasing me. He would open and close my door,
call me "homosexual" and give me the middle finger. He would then slam my door and
called me a "faggot." The officers came to check my cell and while they were in there
they teased me while not saying anything to the other prisoners. One of the officers
squeezed my breasts very hard. I am taking honnones and because of this, it hurt a lot
when he squeezed my breasts. I don't know the name of the officer who did it, but I
could pick him out of a group if necessary. He always insulted me and mocked me for
being transsexual.
8. That same month, I filed a complaint with ICE Office~ The incident that caused me
file the complaint is as follows: McHenry officers were telling me that an officer was
looking for me and told me to go to a certain office. When I got to the office I realized
rhey were insinuating that I was having an inappropriate relationship because they
believed that I am attracted to men since I dress/feel like a woman. I do not know if

~a.k.a.

Officer--'old the other officers to stop. but it doesn't matter anyway because they did
not stop.
9. Office.was the ICE officer who checked in with me at the McHenry County Jail
weekly when I was first detained there. Although Office~never treated me poorly
in a direct manner, he did not protect me and stopped working there in December of
2009. Until my meeting with Officer) •
April 26. 2010. an ICE officer
stopped by the detention center only twice in four months and I have not had the chance
to make complaints to him about my mistreatment because he does not speak Spanish.

ff>n

10. On one occasion, a McHenry officer made an offensive sexual gesture at me with his
finger insinuating that he would poke my butt or insert his finger into my backside since
they consider me to be homosexual.
11. A different officer, who is younger and lacks hair, acts angry and yells at me whenever 1
ask for something. Another officer, whom 1 also can only identify as young and lacking
hair, also laughs and mocks me when the racist and homophobic prisoners yell offensive
things at me. This officer does not make any attempt to stop or control this harassment.

L2. There is a prisoner named" who is racist and often harasses me. One time in
particular he was harassing me and Office~was listening. Officer.only
laughed at wha_said. Officer~lsoadded to the teasing and told me to "shut
up." He did not tell the harasser,~o shut up.

13. The officers frequently call me "homosexual" and say offensive and gross things to me to
tease me. They mockingly tell me how pretty 1look and say sexual things to me to
humiliate me.
14. On January 6, 2010. I asked to switch cells because my cell was covered in gang graffiti.
Officerwand Officer"told me 1 had to stay in the same cell and would not be
moved. The officer told me that nobody was there to protect me now and if I wanted to
move, he would move me. I refused to leave because I could tell he was trying to punish
me. They put me in a cell for two days in basement of the jaiL It was very cold. They
took my undergarments, telling it was so I could not harm myself. They did not feed me
properly while I was in this basement cell. Officers.and~ame to see me and
asked if I wanted to move jails - while doing so. he taunted m~would be treated
even worse at another jail. I told them I would stay at McHenry if they talked to the jail
officers and told them to treat me better. I do not know for certain whether they talked to
McHenry officers. but nothing changed after this conversation.
15. On January 26, 2010,1 pushed the button in my cell to ask for a razor to shave. No one
replied so I pressed the button again. The person who answered told me I hadn't pushed
the button more than once, yelled at me and told me to wait until tomorrow for a razor. I
asked why I had to wait when others got razors that day. I pushed the button to speak
with the sergeant and the officer told me that I could not speak with him until the next

a.k.a.

day. The officer slammed the door on me and said that I could not speak to the sergeant.
The sergeant then put me in the basement cell again for two days.
16. The first day in this basement cell was cold and I was not given enough blankets to cover
myself. In addition, the floor was very dirty and I had no where but the floor to sit or rest.
They gave me only toilet paper to place on the ground for bedding. I was in pain because
of how cold it was. I cried a lot. An officer came by and opened the door to yell at me
and then slammed the door. The officers would stop by my cell to make fun of me. They
imitated my voice and fluttered their hands to make fun of my transsexual mannerisms.
17. In March of 2010, I asked Office_for more toilet paper and tried to hand him the
empty roll. He told me to throw it in the trash and told me that I am trash. Office~
further offended me during a 2pm check for contraband, when he said to one of the other
officers "We need to check that stupid shit." Offic~had no reason to say this to me
and I believe it is because he hates me because 1 am transgender.
18. Office_has also called me trash and "stupid homosexual crap." The sergeants
know what is going on and always cover for officers.
19. Office_has upset me so much, that I stopped going to take my HIV medicine in the
morning for three days because he was always there. I did not want to see him or put up
with his derogatory and hurtful comments. I also never changed clothing when he was
around. I told the supervisors what Office_did to me and they told me it would be
too hard to talk to Office_because there were so many officers around. His offenses
brought back horrible memories of abuse that I suffered in Mexico by homophobic men.
20. I have since begun taking my HIV medication again because the nurse brought me my
medication when Officer'" was not there. Only after Officer.-tstopped working
on that shift was I able to get my medicine without being scared that he would be nearby.
21. The nurse who brought me medicine is the only person who is kind to me. I think she ha~
tried to stick up for me, but it doesn't do any good. She has interpreted for me and tries to
help. She knows about all the abuse but has not been able to stop it.
22. I always feel nervous and afraid. I cannot sleep and would like sleeping pills. I always
feel sick because I cannot sleep and have a lot of anxiety. I feel like their treatment is
killing me. I have requested sleeping pills, but my request has not been granted.
23. To make fun of me and insult me the officers call me Mr._or Mr.....,ince they
know I identify as a woman and prefer that the officers just call m~ With people
who are accepting, I prefer to be calle~
24. I am never allowed out of my cell- according to the guards this is "for my own
protection." I am not in danger from the other inmates, but from the officers who use the
excuse they are protecting me to discriminate against me, humiliate, isolate, and even

grope me. [am forced to eat in my cell and 1 am not allowed to eat in the cafeteria with
the other inmates. ( feel extremely lonely and depressed.
25. Officers• •_ _• _
and
have all made offensive
comments towards me. gestured at me inappropriately and harassed me.
26. Officer. made fun of me when 1 got off of the phone with my attorney. Another
inmate called me a "homo" and a "mother-fucker" and Officer_laughed and
continued to call me names as well.

27. When I ask for necessities. such as soap. the officers will throw them at me forcefully. (
am always forcefully pushed back into my cell and they slam the doors.

28. On the way to my last court date, the officer who brought me from my cell put the
handcuffs on my hands and feet very tightly. He also squeezed my stomach with the belt
that he connected the handcuffs too. Two other female inmates who were with me asked
me why he was so aggressive towards me because he didn't do that to them. I told the
officer that it hurt me and I was in a lot of pain and asked him to loosen the belt and
handcuffs. but he refused. The handcuffs were so tight that they cut my skin. I still have
marks on my hands two weeks after this incident By the time I got to the court my wrist,>
and ankles and stomach were hurting so much I cried as I waIked from the car to the
court.
29. I am treated very poorly compared to other prisoners. 1 have been isolated in the women's
basement cell multiple times merely because I asked for things. Other prisoners get to
chat with one another, to play games, and watch television outside of their cells. I am not
allowed to leave my cell. I am not allowed to talk to other detainees, as the officers say
that detainees can only talk to members of the same gender. and say that I am not any
gender. I identify as a woman.
30. Due to the abuse and harassment I suffered at McHenry, I have had many nightmares and
flashbacks to the abuse I suffered in Mexico.

31. I believe that I should be released from detention, because the government cannot
imprison me and subject me to these kinds of abuses for an immigration violation.
32. Thank you for considering my statements.

~a.k.a.

I have provided the foregoing statement in my native language, which is Spanish. It has
heen read back to me tor veritication in Spanish and I agree that it is true and correCI 10
the best army ability.

Date

RECENT COMPLAINTS FROM LGBT DETAINEES
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (ABA)

This page of complaints has been redacted to protect client confidentiality.

The detention complaints were made in respect of the following detention facilities:
I. EI Centro Service Processing Center, California
2. Willacy County Processing Center, Texas
3. La Salle Detention Center, Louisiana
4. Krome Service Processing Center, Florida

COMPLAINT FILED BY T
This page has been redacted to protect client confidentiality.

The detention complaint was made in respect of a sexual assault of a transgender
individual at the Eloy Detention Center, Arizona. T was sexually assaulted by a guard
while in segregation. Subsequent to this assault, she was only provided with cursory
mental health counseling despite experiencing serious trauma. Following this incident she
was granted Withholding of Removal but remained in ICE custody for a further three
months. During this time she suffered another sexual assault at the same facility.

COMPLAINT FILED BY N

This page has been redacted to protect client confidentiality.

The detention complaint was made in respect of a sexual assault of a transgender woman
who was detained at the York Detention Center, Pennsylvania in 2010. From the time of
her arrival (until her release) she was held in segregation - at times in a 10 foot by 10
foot suicide watch room where N was stripped of her clothes and subject to is-minute
check-ins by detention staff. She was also denied access to medically necessary HIV
treatment, and hormone therapy for treatment of her gender identity disorder. Further,
during the majority of her period in immigration custody, N was denied access to proper
female undergarments.

 

 

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