Published June, 2011

Letter Re: Civil Rights Complaints Filed by the National Immigrant Justice Center, Lambda Legal (2011)

This letter, drafted by Lambda Legal on behalf of a wide-ranging coalition including CHLP, provides support to civil rights complaints filed by the National Immigrant Justice Center. Submitted to the Department of Homeland Security, the letter expresses serious concerns about the systemic mistreatment of LGBT and HIV positive persons in immigration detention facilities and insists that DHS enact and enforce guidelines to protect these individuals. Four pervasive weaknesses in the current system are outlined, accompanied by new policy proposals that must be implemented in order to adequately protect LGBT and HIV positive persons.

As a result of the mistreatment of people with HIV and LGBT individuals in immigration facilities, outrageous civil rights violations are occurring nationwide. The special needs of these groups are ignored causing severe abuse and mistreatment. These problems as articulated in the letter include: 1) housing placements that disregard gender identity and often result in solitary confinement for transgendered persons, 2) improper or nonexistent medical treatment for gender identity disorder, including the discontinuation of pre-existing hormone therapy treatments, 3) delayed access to HIV medical care and services, and 4) sexual, physical and mental abuse.

Proposed solutions to these issues include the implementation of national standards to reduce the disparity of treatment between detainees in federal prisons and in other immigration detention centers, proper and continuing medical treatment for detainees, and case-by-case evaluations to determine individualized needs.