ADDED ON: 04/23/2022

Report documents abuse of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in ICE custody

4/22/22 | Los Angeles Blade

Human Rights First on Thursday released a report that documents the abuse of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers who entered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody after President Biden took office. The report notes an ICE PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003) coordinator at the LaSalle ICE Processing Center in Jena, La., in October 2021 “prevented” a Transgender Mexican man “from providing his attorney a draft copy of the complaint he wished to file” after he was sexually assaulted. Several Trans asylum seekers at the same facility said guards “subjected them to transphobic verbal abuse and other mistreatment.” “A Mexican Transgender man reported that in August 2021 a guard pointed at him and said, ‘How many of them are there? That’s not a real man.’,” reads the report. “Guards intentionally called him ‘ma’am’ and ‘girl’ and used incorrect pronouns despite his repeated attempts to correct them.” The report notes the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Houston Asylum Office last spring “went forward with a CFI (‘credible fear’ interview)” for a gay activist from Angola, “even though he expressed that he was suffering symptoms of COVID-19, pain from a recent physical assault, and psychological distress from conditions of confinement, resulting in a negative credible fear finding.” “The man told the asylum officer that he was experiencing anxiety and felt claustrophobic in the ‘tight space’ where the telephonic interview was being conducted,” reads the report. “The asylum officer proceeded with the CFI during which the man was unable to disclose that he is gay because he was afraid that the officer would inform others at the detention center of his sexuality.” “He feared that such disclosure would further endanger his life since in detention he had been threatened and harassed by people who called him homophobic slurs, according to his attorney at the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative,” it adds.

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