Amid activist calls additional protections for transgendered migrants, the Obama administration is planning a new detention facility for illegal immigrants that would include a unit designated solely for transgender detainees, according to a new report.
Fusion reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed plans for a separate transgender unit within the new facility, slated to open in November in Alvarado, Texas.
“The facility is expected to house about 700 detainees, including a separate 36-bed unit for transgender individuals,” Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman, told Fusion.
The facility will be called the Prairieland Dention Center and provide each transgender detainee with an special detention plan “covering items such as searches, clothing options, hygiene practices, medical care, and housing assignments,” Rusnok added to Fusion.
While ICE is taking special precautions to house transgendered illegal immigrants in safe conditions, the plan is not quite what immigrant rights activists had in mind. Rather activists, according to Fusion, would prefer the transgender illegal immigrants not be housed in a detention facility at all but rather with community organizations.
“[ICE] is talking about the new detention center as if they are providing as a service to the community, and they’re not,” Isa Noyola, the program director at the Transgender Law Center, told Fusion.
ICE estimates that it has about 65 “transgender woman” in it’s custody on an average night, according to Fusion.
Last year the Obama administration issued a memorandum dictating the proper care and placement of transgendered detainees in ICE custody.
“The Transgender Care Memorandum reaffirms ICE’s commitment to provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all those in our custody, including those individuals who identify as transgender,” Thomas Homan, the Executive Assistant Director for ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations, said in a statement at the time.
“We want to make sure our employees have the tools and resources available to learn more about how to interact with transgender individuals and ensure effective standards exist to house and care for them throughout the custody cycle,” he added.