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Activists call for ICE to release all LGBT migrants because they can’t provide proper healthcare

Lily Wakefield September 26, 2019
LGBT+ ICE detainees have inadequate healthcare

A woman holds a banner reading "ICE stop attacking our community" during a protest outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Portland, Oregon.( Alex Milan Tracy/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

Human rights activists have filed a complaint calling for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release all LGBT+ migrants from custody because they say it cannot provide adequate healthcare.

14 groups demanded the release on Wednesday, September 25, which as well as LGBT+ detainees included any migrants living with HIV, because of poor medical and mental health care.

According to the Boston Globe, the director of legal services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Roger Coggan, told reporters on Wednesday afternoon: “We know that lack of medical and mental health care, including lack of HIV care, is the norm.

“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.”

Other groups filing the complaint include the National Immigrant Justice Center, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Familia Trans Queer Liberation Project and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

ICE Arrests Undocumented Immigrants In NYC
A person is detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers during an operation on April 11, 2018 in New York City. (John Moore/Getty)

Poor healthcare has led to the deaths of multiple LGBT+ ICE detainees.

Earlier this month, a trans woman was released after being detained by ICE for more than 20 months after a sustained advocacy campaign by her attorney and several non-profit organisations.

Alejandra Barrera was refused treatment for a progressive medical condition, and the National Immigrant Justice Centre said that “if left untreated, her illness could permanently affect her cognitive abilities and could cause severe complications and even death”.

In June this year Johana Medina Leon, a trans woman who was seeking asylum in the US, died from dehydration and HIV-related complications after spending six weeks detained by ICE.

The complaint from the LGBT+ rights organisations states: “Far too many people in detention are outright denied access to HIV-related care or experience significant delays.

“This delay of treatment is cruel, counterintuitive to ending HIV transmission, and causes irreparable harm.”

More: detainees, healthcare, ice, immigration, LGBT, migrants, Trans

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