Over 100 trans people are being held in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
There are at least 111 ‘self-identified transgender individuals’ are being held in 20 different facilities across the US, according to ICE spokeswoman, Danielle Bennett.
Of this number, 45 trans women are being held in the privately operated South Texas Detention Complex, located about 55 miles southwest of San Antonio.
Bennett also confirmed that there are a number of trans people being detained in the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, which has a specialist unit for trans detainees, the Washington Blade reports.
The Cibola County Correctional Center gained notoriety last year as the facility Honduran trans woman Roxsana Hernández was held in before she died in a nearby hospital.
Roxsana Hernandez, the trans woman who died in the custody of US immigration, was only 33 | Photo: Facebook/Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
Hernández’ death caused outrage among activists, many of whom claimed the HIV-positive 33-year-old died from preventable causes.
An autopsy also suggested Hernández may have been beaten before she died.
Three Democratic Senators, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Kamala Harris, wrote a letter to ICE demanding an explanation over Hernández’ death.
‘According to ICE, Lovelace Medical Center preliminarily listed Ms. Hernández’s cause of death as cardiac arrest,’ the letter read.
‘The Transgender Law Center had an independent autopsy performed that suggested severe complications of dehydration on top of an H.I.V. infection and also suggested that Ms. Hernández was beaten with a baton or similar object while she was restrained by handcuffs.’
Bennett denied these accusations in a previous statement.
Countless LGBTI people are among refugees seeking asylum at the southern border of the US after fleeing persecution in their home countries.
Trans communities face particular discrimination in South America, which is the deadliest continent for trans people.
The debate over refugees and asylum seekers has become particularly divisive during the presidency of Donald Trump.
The White House has implemented a number of hardline policies with regards to immigrants.
In turn, human rights groups have condemned the US government for ‘cruel’ and inhumane treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.
Trump has also been accused of stoking fears over immigration to help secure funding to build a wall along the southern border, one of his main campaign promises during the 2016 presidential election.