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Detained Trans Immigrant Marichuy Gamino to Be Released

Detained Trans Immigrant Marichuy Gamino to Be Released


Activists are rejoicing that the transgender asylum-seeker from Mexico, who was reportedly raped and placed in solitary confinement this past year, will be freed -- but say there are many more who need help.

Marichuy Leal Gamino, a 24-year-old transgender Mexican woman who was allegedly raped while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, then placed in solitary confincement by officials, will be released this month on bond, according to the Arcoiris Liberation Team.

Gamino has been held for more than a year at Eloy Detention Center, a privately run facility in Arizona, after she was detained at the U.S.-Mexico border will seeking asylum from her home country, where she says she had faced a transphobic assault. Gamino had spent her childhood in the U.S. but was deported as a young woman.

While held in the men's detention facility last August, Gamino says she was raped by her cellmate, but when she informed officials she was coerced into signing a statement claiming the sexual assault was consensual. Gamino contends she had informed officials that her assailant made derogatory remarks and threated her with rape before the assault, but officials reportedly took no action to prevent it. After the alleged assault, Gamino was placed in solitary confinement for "protection" according to offiicials -- though advocates called the move "punishment" for speaking out about her treatment.

Arcoiris Liberation Team, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the Transgender Law Center and 60 other high-profile LGBT organizations immediately called for Gamino's release, an end to her indefinite detention, and a hearing for her case. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that Gamino could be released as soon as she paid a $7,500 bond to ICE.

The Arcoiris Liberation Team held a fundraiser to supplement the money already raised by Gamino's family, collecting $1,500 so there were sufficient funds to pay for Gamino's release. The LGBT migrant rights group -- which is still accepting donations -- plans to donate all extra funds raised to other trans and queer people held in immigration detention, some in situations like to that of Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco, a trans asylum seeker who was detained by ICE in October 2014 in a case similar to Gamino's.

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Mitch Kellaway