One Year on ICE Prison for Transgender Immigrants in Texas Remains Closed

Photo: Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

VICE News has learned that a year-old detention center for undocumented immigrants in Dallas, Texas never opened its unit for transgender people detained by ICE. Prairieland Detention Center had plans to feature a protected, 36-bed pod exclusively for transgender detainees to keep those individuals safe from violence and abuse.

ICE spokesman Carl Ruskok confirmed to VICE News that despite reports a year ago, the wing has never been used to house transgender detainees and there are no plans to do so in the future:

“Due to an increased demand for detention bed space and other foreseen factors, the Prairieland Detention Center currently does not operate a dedicated transgender housing unit.”

The decision to set aside a special unit for trans detainees at Prairieland came under the Obama administration, as ICE policy gradually started to reflect the concerns of LGBTQ and immigrants rights groups over the detention of transgender asylum seekers. In 2015, ICE released a memo with guidelines for appropriate placement and care of trans detainees.

Read the article on VICE News here.