Hunger Strike Seeks an End to Transgender Immigrant Detentions

Immigrant and LGBTQ rights leaders launched a hunger strike at 8 this morning at Sasscer Park in Santa Ana—and the goal of the activism has nothing to do with where one can legally go potty.

The action is part of an ongoing campaigns to end to the detention of transgender immigrants at the Santa Ana City Jail as part of a local contract with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A.k.a. ICE, ICE, baby.

Specific demands are that: the Santa Ana City Council schedule a vote to cancel the jail contract that has the federal government paying the city to hold undocumented immigrants, including trans women; the council advocate for the release of transgender immigrant women from detention centers across the country; and DHS and ICE end such detentions because transgender immigrant women “face [a] disproportionate amount of abuse and rights violations inside both private and public detention centers,” according to Orange County Immigrant Youth United.

“The city of Santa Ana, one of the most Latino and most immigrant cities in the country, contracts with ICE to detain immigrants at a rate of $105 per person per day,” the statement continues. “The facility maintains specific pods for transgender and queer detainees, and most recently came into national attention when it was highlighted on a Human Rights Watch report on the deplorable conditions transgender women face in the detention system, and when community members defeated a February attempt to expand the scope of immigrant detention in the facility.”

Click here to get a gander at the petition organizers recently released.

We’ll end with some statements within the OCIYU statement:

“I support the hunger strike because I was also detained by ICE and know the abuses trans women face inside detention centers. I want ICE to no longer be in Santa Ana and to end the detention and deprivation of trans women.” -Angela Pereira, an immigrant from Guatemala.

“There is no such thing as a humane way to detain someone. Rather than provide cover for ICE and DHS, Santa Ana’s council members should stand with the community and become leaders in the fight against trans detention by rejecting ICE’s dirty money, and ending their jail contract with the deportation agency.” -Deyaneira Garcia, a Segerstrom High School senior and OCIYU’s youth organizer.

“I am committed in ending the abuse and injustices against our communities and fighting for liberation.” -Jennicet Gutierrez, an organizer for Familia: TQLM

“I am participating in the hunger strike to ensure ICE no longer continues to terrorize our community here in Santa Ana and to end the abuse and detention of transgender undocumented women. We want an end to all raids, we want ICE out of Santa Ana and all of our communities. The Santa Ana City Council members need to cancel the ICE contract now and stand on the rights side of justice.” -Jorge Gutierrez, director of Familia: TQLM.

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