National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1818, Chicago, IL 60604
Stop Abuse of Detained LGBT Immigrants
Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) filed 17 complaints in 2011 with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Office of Inspector General demanding that the Obama administration investigate abuse allegations and take action to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrants in DHS custody.
The complaints describe violations including sexual assault, denial of medical and mental health treatment, arbitrary long-term solitary confinement, and frequent harassment by officers and facility personnel. The experiences of the courageous individuals who submitted complaints reflect the wrongful treatment suffered by hundreds of LGBT and other vulnerable immigrants in DHS detention facilities throughout the country.
The individuals who filed complaints all came to the United States to escape persecution in their native countries, only to face continued abuse in the immigration system. DHS cannot continue to detain people if the U.S. government cannot protect them.
Since NIJC filed the complaints, policy makers and advocates from across the country have come together to defend the rights of LGBT immigrants in detention.
NIJC cover letter for civil rights complaint (April 2011)
Letter from 28 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Government Accountability Office requesting an investigation into sexual violence in U.S. immigration detention system (January 2012)
Image credit: Vectorportal.com