Immigration centers are dangerously overcrowded yet the federal agency slammed with an onslaught of migrants provides a separate unit for transgender illegal immigrants as well as costly hormone therapy and a number of other perks. Thanks to an Obama policy continued by the Trump administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gives transgender illegal aliens special treatment, including their own detention center in New Mexico that offers hair and makeup classes, a recreation area, gym, television rooms, a lab and pharmacy.
There are also meeting areas for trans detainees to consult with free legal services provided by advocacy groups. American taxpayers furnish the hormone therapy, which “is not cheap,”according to an ICE director quoted in a recent news report about the New Mexico transgender facility, which opened in 2017.
The reality is that ICE has long offered transgender illegal immigrants special services under an Obama-era policy that the Trump administration can easily reverse but has chosen not to. ICE officials and frontline personnel are outraged that the Trump administration continues the policies, which some in the agency refer to as dangerous, expensive and foolish.
Rank and file are at their wits end, according to ICE officials interviewed by Judicial Watch this week. “Two and a half years of the Trump administration and we still have Obama detention standards,” said Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council, which represents 7,600 officers, agents and employees throughout the U.S. “This is not a new policy for ICE. It came out under the performance-based detention standards in 2011 and was updated in 2013 and 2016.”
Crane said the National ICE Council addressed the agency’s detrimental detention issues with Trump’s first Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, who ordered changes that never materialized.
Under guidance issued by former ICE director Tom Homan, a supposed immigration hardliner chosen by President Trump to be a border czar, transgender migrants are to be treated with white gloves.
At the time Homan was ICE executive associate director and in the 18-page memo he orders the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to let illegal immigrants self-identify with a gender different from that which corresponds with his or her biological sex or respond affirmatively during a risk assessment that he or she may be at an elevated risk in a detention setting because of his or her actual or perceived gender identity and/or gender expression. Federal officers are encouraged to use a certain script asking illegal aliens if they wish to disclose their gender identity, though they are not required to if they are “not comfortable sharing.”
Under Homan’s directive immigration officers are to look out for exhibits of gender expression, including one’s preferred name, pronouns, clothing, makeup, haircut, behavior, voice or body characteristics that indicate a gender different from the sex listed on the detainee’s identity documents. Federal agents must also look for documentation that indicates a gender identity different from the detainee’s biological sex or lists the detainee’s gender identity as transgender and prescription medication such as hormones that indicate a gender identity different from biological sex.
“The detainee shall not be disciplined for refusing to answer any gender identity-related questions during processing, for not disclosing complete information in response to questions about gender identity, or for falsely reporting that he or she is not transgender,” Homan’s memo states.
The policy also forces government contractors of detention facilities to adhere to special “transgender care” rules, which includes the creation of Transgender Classification and Care Committee (TCCC). “The TCCC shall be comprised of a dedicated facility medical representative, facility mental health representative, a facility classification supervisor, the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Field Liaison, and a supervisory representative designated by the Field Office Director (FOD),” according to Homan’s memo.
An individualized detention plan must then be devised for each transgender illegal immigrant by, among other things, considering the detainee’s “preferences and requests” and “self-assessment of his or her safety needs.” Homan also directs ICE to give transgender illegal immigrants hormone therapy while in custody, separate showers and toilets and an array of other accommodations.
The last few pages of Homan’s transgender guidance provide the definition of relevant terms such as biological sex, gender affirming surgery, gender dysphoria, gender expression, gender identity, intersex, transgender man and woman, transition and gender non-conforming.