The blog post below is by Jorge Gutierrez, National Coordinator of FAMILIA TQLM.
Yesterday Hillary Clinton spoke about immigration during a roundtable with young people in Nevada. It is no coincidence or surprise that the topic of immigration is at the forefront of her presidential campaign given the organizing power many grassroots immigrant rights organizations have been building for the last several years. We know that while the courts deal with the injunction of DAPA and extended DACA, our undocumented immigrant communities continue to be detained and deported. Private corporations continue to build detention centers, fill 34,000 beds with our people every year, and profit at the cost of the suffering of our undocumented community. We also know that LGBTQ undocumented immigrants, especially transgender women, continue to be detained, tortured and deported by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Take the case of Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco, a 24 year old transgender undocumented woman, from Guatemala that spent 6 months in a detention center in Florence, Arizona. Nicoll was placed in all male facility; her gender identity was not respected and she experienced sexual and physical abuse. She was recently released after months of a public campaign. And her case is only one of many transgender undocumented women in detention centers who continue to experience abuse and torture.
It is powerful to see that the narrative and lives of transgender immigrant women in detention is made visible by the immigrant community and uplifted to the immigration conversation. With the #Not1More LGBTQ Deportation Campaign we demand the release of LGBTQ undocumented immigrants from detention centers, particularly the release of transgender women. This campaign centers the work around trans detention and uplifts the cases like Nicoll to continue to grow the visibility of transgender women in detention centers and to demand the current administration prioritizes our LGBTQ undocumented community because, especially for transgender undocumented women, this is a life and death situation.
We should not have to wait for Congress to pass immigration reform or Clinton to end trans detention, Obama’s administration can do it now.