Activist group claims abuse of sexual minorities at ICE detention centers

A Chicago-based immigration advocacy group has filed 13 civil rights complaints on behalf of homosexual, bisexual and transgender immigrants held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities who claim they were abused.

According to Legal Times, the detainees represented by Chicago-based Heartland Alliance National Immigration Justice Center were allegedly denied medical care, sexually abused, punished and discriminated against. One HIV-positive man was denied medication for his disease and held in solitary confinement for almost six weeks, the complaints say, while a transgender individual was denied hormone treatment despite taking hormone supplements for years prior to being detained. When she tried to commit suicide, the ICE facility allegedly put her in solitary confinement as punishment.

“Given [the Department of Homeland Security’s] inability to protect vulnerable individuals in its custody from abuse, the Obama administration must take concrete steps to reduce its expansive detention program and to use alternatives to detention,” said Heartland Alliance executive director Mary Meg McCarthy.

According to The Associated Press, the 13 detainees were held at detention centers in nine states: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.