Complaints by Transgender Detainees Quantify Abuse

Published: September 3, 2013

 NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)–A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for individual complaints filed by transgender immigrants held in U.S. federal immigration detention and processing facilities has yielded a total of 186 individuals since 2008.

The complaints of most of these people–169–are described in documents released by the U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) through the FOIA. Seventy of them allege sexual assault or rape and 34 reported being segregated in isolation for indeterminate periods of time. Harassment and assault also played a role in 24 of these cases.
A Women’s eNews investigation found that less than 10 percent of these OIG cases–the most recent of which dates to July 2013–have resulted in any sort of administrative closure or investigation.
The OIG, which conducts independent investigations on the Department of Homeland Security’s operations, does not track transgender complaints from detention facilities. Only 18 of the complainants are specifically identified as transgender or transsexual, while 35 of them are classified as "he/she." An additional 115 of the complainants’ genders are unstated or redacted, but were still included in the returned FOIA request for transgender complaints from detention.
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