Report shows undocumented trans immigrants face discrimination and violence

A new report building on data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey suggests that undocumented trans immigrants in the United States face high levels of discrimination and violence in employment, housing, healthcare, and within the immigration system. According to estimates from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), which released the report, between 15,000 and 50,000 trans people are undocumented immigrants.

Findings from the report show that 39% of undocumented trans people have lost their jobs due to bias, and were three times more likely than other trans people to face physical and sexual assault in the workplace. At the same time, income data showed 39% of undocumented trans people earning less than $20,000 a year, and 18% earning less than $10,000 a year. Undocumented trans people are also twice as likely to be homeless than other trans people, and 21% reported being evicted from their homes due to bias.

Undocumented trans people are also made vulnerable to abuse in immigration detention facilities. The report shares the experience of Bamby Salcedo, a Latina trans woman and HIV activist who was detained in a detenteion center and placed in immigration deportation proceedings after living in the U.S. for twenty years. At the facility, she was housed and forced to shower with men, where she was sexually harassed, physically attacked, and placed into solitary confinement. Bamby was eventually released with a "withholding of removal" status, but because she missed the 1-year deadline to apply for asylum, she can never fully regularize her immigration status under current laws.

NCTE's report emphasizes that comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) is critical, both for undocumented trans people and their families, and for thousands of LGBT people. You can read the full report here