US

ICE tried to wish everyone a happy Pride Month. People weren’t impressed

Lily Wakefield June 16, 2021
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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. (Getty/ Anadolu Agency/ Alex Milan Tracy)

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tried to wish everyone a happy Pride Month, but the LGBT+ community was having none of it.

On Wednesday (16 June), the official ICE Twitter account posted: “During Pride Month, we recognise our LGBTQ+ employees, reflect on the trials that their community has endured and rejoice with them in the triumphs of those who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality.”

ICE has been involved in multiple controversies relating to the mistreatment LGBT+ people in its custody, and Twitter users were quick to point this out.

One wrote: “What gaslighting nonsense is this? The trials that their communities have endured that you inflicted upon them?”

“The things Twitter would ban me for saying to this bulls**t,” read one of the more restrained responses.

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Aquaria responded to ICE: “LITERALLY 10000 per cent ABSOLUTELY NOT.

“We absolutely do not want your support because that s**t’s phony as f**k.”

“I don’t care how many of y’all homos work for this disgusting organisation but y’all can sit this and every Pride OUT.

Several transgender detainees have complained about the severely lacking standards of medical care in ICE detention centres.

In 2019, attorneys and NGOs launched a campaign for the release of Alejandra Barrera, a trans woman who fled violence in El Salvador, after she was refused treatment for a progressive medical condition.

She was finally freed after 20 months, but activists claimed her experience was representative of the widespread mistreatment of all trans women in ICE custody.

In September, 2019, 14 human rights groups filed a complaint calling for ICE to release all LGBT+ migrants from custody because they say it cannot provide adequate healthcare.

In March, 2020, a leaked memo from Homeland Security obtained by Buzzfeed revealed that an HIV-positive trans woman in ICE detention was left bleeding from her rectum for 13 days.

Last year, the Transgender Law Centre announced it had filed charges against several private companies contracted by ICE after the alleged wrongful death of Roxana Hernández, a trans woman who passed away in ICE custody from AIDS-related complications.

The lawsuit alleged that “these companies violated their federal agency contracts, their own standards of care, Roxana’s rights, as well as the standards of care in the various states Roxana travelled through”.

An independent autopsy report released in December 2018 showed that Hernández had been beaten before her death, although ICE denied that she was abused in its custody.

In 2019, it emerged that ICE had deleted essential video footage, despite her death being investigated.

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