Women Are Still Locked in Immigration Detention Cells With Men Just Because They're Trans

May 25, 2015
The Advocate

A former detainee says Immigration and Customs Enforcement must stop housing transgender women with men in private prisons. In a word, it's about rape.

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But another report, released in early April by anti-incarceration group Grassroots Leadership, finds that ultimate goal should be the complete removal of for-profit operation of ICE detention centers.

The report, titled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, says private corrections giants enjoy a unique position in terms of being guaranteed a revenue stream via a congressional mandate. The report names GEO Group, which runs the Texas prison named in the DOJ report, and Corrections Corporation of America, the operator of the facility where Gamino alleges she was raped, as key perpetrators of this prison-for-profit situation.

Grassroots Leadership reports that the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010 includes language that has been interpreted as requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fill 33,400 beds (later increased to 34,000 beds) with detained immigrants on a daily basis.

"The directive would come to be known as the 'immigrant detention quota' or 'bed mandate,'" reads the report. "The immigration detention quota is unprecedented; no other law enforcement agency operates under a detention quota mandated by Congress."

Grassroots Leadership's Payoff report included Gamino's story, beginning with her childhood in Phoenix, where she grew up after being brought from Sinaloa, Mexico, when she was 6 years old.