The U.S. should release all LGBTQ detainees from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, according to human rights groups.
Fourteen organizations banded together to demand the release based on failures to provide adequate medical attention, especially to those with HIV, The Washington Post reports. The organizations filed a complaint Wednesday with the Department of Homeland Security.
“We know that lack of medical and mental health care, including lack of HIV care, is the norm,” said Roger Coggan, director of legal services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
“By the Department of Homeland Security’s own count, 300 individuals identifying as transgender have been in custody and at the mercy of ICE since October of 2018. These cruel incarcerations need to stop immediately.”
The groups now want the Office of Inspector General to investigate treatment of detainees nationwide, and say Homeland Security should cancel all contracts with privately run detention facilities allegedly providing improper care to LGBTQ migrants.
The demands come after at least two trans refugees died in ICE custody.
Johana Medina died June 1 at Las Palmas del Sol hospital, days after being transported unconscious from a detention center to a medical facility.
AIDS United reports Medina was living with HIV in El Salvador before fleeing to the U.S.
The advocacy group Diversidad Sin Fronteras say Medina had waited nearly three months in Juarez, Mexico, for the opportunity to present her legal case for asylum in the United States. Those close to Medina report that she got to make that case to Customs and Border Patrol in early April, but was told she was not transgender.
Roxsana Hernandez, another trans woman seeking asylum, died in a New Mexico facility in May 2018. The Transgender Law Center funded an autopsy of Hernandez that concluded she died of dehydration and physical abuse. However, the New Mexico Medical Investigator’s Office said she died of complications from HIV.
Homeland Security has not responded to the request, the Post reports.