Advocates are deeply concerned about transgender immigration detainee, Marichuy Leal Gamino, who, according to The Advocate, not only was incarcerated in a men's facility at Arizona's Eloy Detention Center even though she identifies as a woman, but was also sent to solitary confinement after reporting that her male roommate raped her.
The Arcoiris Liberation Team, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and Transgender Law Center released a joint statement saying that Gamino was punished after coming forward about her sexual assault. When she was forced to live in the same facility where she was assaulted, she informed the Center's staff that she felt suicidal. Security then put her in solitary confinement for two days.
Unfortunately, it has become a frequent practice for detention centers and prisons to put transgender inmates in solitary confinement under the guise that it's for the detainee's safety. But a 2010 report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asserts that the "use of confinement to protect a threatened population amounts to a punitive measure." During solitary confinement, detainees may be confined separately for 23 hours a day with little access to proper clothing, medication, and/or communication with the outside world. This mistreatment can drag on for months and often results in inflicting "lasting psychological damage and increased likelihoods of future suicide attempts, depression, insomnia, and hallucinations."
The Advocate also reported that one trans former Eloy detainee, Karolina Lopez, experienced similar maltreatment:
"What's happening to Marichuy is not so different from what I went through, or what I saw other trans women in Eloy experience…I was harassed by two men, then placed in solitary confinement. Officials said it was for my own security, but they treated me like I had done something wrong. I almost went crazy, I still have fear of small spaces, and of officials. If ICE (Immigration Control and Enforcement) actually cares about Marichuy's security, they should let her go."
Since Marichuy was first detained in Eloy over a year ago, ICE has failed to provide even a minimum level of safety and dignity. Now, in response to the pressure of public attention, ICE has threatened to send Marichuy to yet another detention facility, further from her family and community in Arizona, instead of using its discretion to release her from detention.
Join over 60 LGBT and human rights organizations and the 3,500 other signatories on this petition demanding ICE Director, Andrew Lorenzon-Strait, for her immediate release.