Transgender immigrants not safe in US detention centers

Various groups including the Familia: Queer and Trans Liberation Movement, The Transgender Law Center and GetEqual are calling for the release of Christina Lopez, a transgender immigrant woman currently detained in Santa Ana Detention Center. Lopez, is a 35 year old immigrant fleeing violence against transgender people in her native Peru. Advocates are alarmed because she has been detained for a year and a half and she hasn't had access to life-saving medications for her Hepatitis C.

She should not even be in detention:

According to a guidance issued by the administration, asylum seekers like Lopez should not be prioritized for detention.

The courts recently agreed that transgender migrants fleeing persecution in their home countries should be protected:

Carey Avendano-Hernandez was erroneously denied protections under torture conventions because the immigration judges failed to understand that the advances for the lesbian and gay community in her country did not translate to advances for the transgender community there and should be not be conflated, or used when considering the cases of transgender asylum seekers.

Detention hurts Christina Lopez and other vulnerable populations:

Reports and first-hand accounts make it clear that detention is not safe for transgender women who are sexually assaulted at alarmingly higher rates while detained and denied proper medical care.

Lopez' time in detention hurts her chances of being granted asylum:

A report makes it clear that immigrants who are detained are less likely to be granted asylum despite their compelling reasons to be granted asylum.

The reason Lopez and other non-violent undocumented immigrants are detained is linked to a bed quota that Congress is working to get rid of:

In order to fill the 34,000 detainees a day quota, law enforcement uses resources to lock up individuals that could easily await their day in immigration court with ankle bracelets, while at the same needlessly creating unsafe environments in immigrant communities targeted for raids.

Her detention is for-profit, but benefits no one:

Some in Congress are recommending to abolish this private system of detention, along with this misguided bed quota. The media reports little about these centers located in our communities and how they profit from detaining people in our name.

She is not the only one:

The US Commission on Civil Rights released a report detailing abuses at immigration detention centers, which include the lack of proper medical care at places like Adelanto Detention Center, which advocates say is being considered as a place to house transgender detainees.

Detainees like her often don't have access to representation:

It is really hard for detainees to get access to representation and it is not guaranteed under the immigration detention system.

And the situation could get worse, not just for her, but all the other transgender migrants and other vulnerable populations in detention:

Currently advocates are working to stop the proposed expansion of Adelanto Detention Center, featured in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report for its bad record on providing medical care amongst other problems. Advocates warn that the facility is not built to house women and will isolate transgender immigrants from possible representation and community vigilance.

That's why she needs you:

You can get involved by visiting the following sites:

Get informed:

Center for American Progress, Immigration Equality, Transgender Law Center, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Not1More, United We Dream, GetEqual

Raise awareness and take action:

#freeChristina, #stopadelanto, #freeadelanto4,  petition