By Anya Morgan and Susan Beaty, SRLP interns
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Texas, a case challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. This decision left in place a lower court injunction – meaning a ban or stoppage – against two programs, the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). These programs would have given temporary immigration relief to undocumented immigrants who are parents of US citizens or permanent residents, or who came to the U.S. as children. As a result of this decision, millions of undocumented immigrants are left vulnerable to detention and deportation. Perhaps most at risk are undocumented TGNCI folks, who are already profiled as suspicious by law enforcement and government agencies, and are more likely to be targeted by ICE.
TGNCI folks also experience increased violence in detention centers. Part of the problem is that trans-feminine folks are often locked up in facilities designed for men, undermining their identities and dignity as women or feminine people and making it impossible to access female-specific support such as hygiene products, gender affirming clothing and so forth.
Unfortunately, even when placed in women’s facilities or transgender-specific facilities, trans-feminine TGNCI folks are still subject to harassment and violence at the hands of guards, who are insufficiently trained on how to respect the gender identity—and humanity—of detainees. A 2014 report by Fusion revealed that 1 in 5 victims of sexual assault in detention centers were transgender—a hugely disproportionate number, considering that only about 1 in 500 total detainees are transgender. Many TGNCI immigrants come to the U.S. seeking asylum from persecution in their countries of origin, and thus are stuck between a rock and a hard place—vulnerable to violence if they are deported, and subject to incarceration and abuse if detained in the U.S.
If you are a member of the TGNCI community and have questions about your immigration status, please reach out to us at SRLP.