Homeland Security: Give Transgender Illegal Alien Detainees Their Choice of 'Undergarments'

By Susan Jones | June 30, 2015 | 12:00pm EDT
In this March 3, 2015 photo, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detain a man in The Bronx, N.Y. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(CNSNews.com) - After six months of study, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued new guidelines on how to care for transgender illegal aliens who end up in detention facilities, awaiting possible deportation.

The goal of the Transgender Care Memorandum is to provide a "respectful, safe and secure environment for all detainees, including those individuals who identify as transgender."

Among the questions to be asked of men who identify as women or vice-versa: "Do you prefer to wear male or female clothing?" "Are there any specific clothing items (e.g. undergarments) that you need that you have not been provided?"

(An attachment to the guidance notes, "The detention standards do not restrict the provision of gender-appropriate clothing. In general, brassieres should be provided to individuals who request them, as appropriate.")

Other questions for transgender detainees include, "Would you feel safer being housed in a cell with someone else or by yourself?" "Do you have a preference for whether a male or female staff member searches you?"

When there are questions about an illegal alien's gender identity, ICE intake officials are instructed to ask, right at the start, "Do you wish to disclose your gender identity?"

If the detainee identifies as transgender or has a gender identity different from his or her biological sex, ICE officials shall record that determination in the appropriate data systems.

The guidelines state, "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 asked about gender identity, or for falsely reporting that he or she is not transgender."

Transgender detainees who were already receiving hormone therapy when taken into ICE custody will continue getting it; and all transgender detainees must have access to mental health care and medication such as hormone therapy based on medical need.

The guidelines also expand the ICE bureaucracy.

ICE detention facilities must create and operate a Transgender Classification and Care Committee (TCCC), which will write an individualized detention plan for each transgender detainee.

And supervisory LGBTI Field Liaisons will be appointed to "regularly communicate" with a new national Enforcement and Removal Operations LGBTI Coordinator, who will report on the progress of implementing the new guidelines.

“The Transgender Care Memorandum reaffirms ICE’s commitment to provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all those in our custody, including those individuals who identify as transgender,” said ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Assistant Director Thomas Homan.

“We want to make sure our employees have the tools and resources available to learn more about how to interact with transgender individuals and ensure effective standards exist to house and care for them throughout the custody cycle.”

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