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Over the past five years lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) noncitizens in immigration custody have gone from being vulnerable and largely invisible to being more visible but still just as vulnerable. In April 2011, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) filed a mass complaint with the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exposed human rights abuses facing LGBTQ noncitizens in immigration custody. That complaint documented instances of sexual and physical abuse, placement in long-term solitary confinement, lack of adequate medical care, and widespread discrimination and harassment.

Since that complaint, DHS has taken some steps to respond to those abuses, but many of the same issues persist and new problems have emerged.