LGBT immigrant groups and allied advocates are calling for an end to detention

LGBT immigrant groups such as United We Dream and allied advocates are calling for Homeland Security to protect LGBT immigrants from sexual assault and find alternatives to detention. In a letter addressed to the Secretary of Homeland Security, recommendations for alternatives to detention are outlined. Advocates are calling for the alternatives in in light of statistics that detail the problems with detention for LGBT detainees. According to the letter the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that LGBT immigrants "experience assaults at 10 times the rate of heterosexual detainees. Specifically for transgender women, 1 in 3 will be sexually abused within 12 months in custody." Advocates also point out that under protocols already established known as Risk Clarification Assessments, many LGBT detainees should be at lower priority for detention because they are a vulnerable population.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress, also quoted in the letter states that LGBT immigrants in detention are less likely to successfully apply for asylum as a result of being detained. In an accompanying video an asylum seeker from Azerbaijan recounts his horrific experience in a detention center.

Recently, The Advocate and other LGBT outlets have profiled cases of LGBT immigrants, detailing how those who have been detained, or face deportation suffer abuse and harassment. But, unfortunately the issue continues without resolution. For example, one queer woman has sought sanctuary in a church fearing deportation back to Guatemala.

Groups are working to bring attention to this throughout the country. In DC, for example the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project and United We Dream will be holding a rally to bring attention with the hashtag #BreaktheCage at the end of the month.