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Esmeralda: A transgender asylum seeker speaks out against immigration detention

Courage comes in many different forms. For Esmeralda a transgender asylum seeker from Mexico who faced horrific circumstances in immigration detention, it came in the form of seeking justice. Kept in a segregated cell with other transgender detainees, Esmeralda never realized that her experience in detention would match the trauma of discrimination she had faced back home. But her story is also one of hope for change.

While the Obama administration has pledged to reform the detention system, its promises do not go far enough. Spread over a patchwork of more than 500 county jails, privately run prisons and federal facilities, immigration detention is a $1.8 billion business estimated to hold 442,941 detainees in custody in 2009 alone.

Transferred far away from their homes and families, stories are rife of how detainees are denied visitation, access to lawyers, medical care, and are subject to physical and verbal abuse. Many vulnerable people, including asylum seekers, pregnant women, children, lawful permanent residents and even U.S. citizens are among those detained.

Listen to Esmeralda’s voice of courage and take action now to fix a broken detention system.

5 Responses to “Esmeralda: A transgender asylum seeker speaks out against immigration detention”

    [...] It is within the accepted narrative for Latin America to be transphobic but in the U.S. the abuse and denial of basic rights is rarely even on the radar especially when it comes to immigration. In fact in a conversation i had just last week on the issue of who are Latina immigrants, there was an attempt, I felt by the other to paint transgender Latinas as outsiders or “one-offs” in the Latina immigrant community rather than an essential and regular part of it. It is attitudes such as this that create an atmosphere that is ripe for further abuse especially within the already unjust immigrant detention system. [...]

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    [...] voice of courage and take action now to fix a broken detention system. Crossposted from Restore Fairness Tags: detention, [...]

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    [...] Restore Fairness has a post about Esmeralda, a trans woman from Mexico who came to the US to seek asylum, only to endure sexual abuse in an American immigration detention centre.  Her story, like many others, speaks to the way that the immigration system intersects with other forms of oppression, often in an unspeakably cruel and dehumanising way. [...]

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    [...] a comment » Restore Fairness has a post up about Esmerelda, a trans woman who was detained in dehumanizing, discriminatory conditions while [...]

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    [...] U.S. without legal status, and detention in federal facilities pending removal hearings. Further, many transgender immigrants have experienced rape, sexual assault, harassment and other forms of violence – including the [...]

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