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LGBTI Migrants in Immigration Detention: A Global Perspective

NCJ Number
Harvard Journal of Law and Gender Volume: 37 Issue: 1 Dated: 2014 Pages: 1-45
Shana Tabak; Rachel Levitan
Date Published
45 pages
This article reviews protections available to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) immigrants who are placed in detention after being charged with immigration offenses.
The severe victimization experienced by detained LGBTI immigrants is documented. The authors note, however, that more substantive data would increase understanding of the seriousness of the human rights violations against LGBTI detainees, since much of what is known about this issue is based on anecdotal evidence. The evidence is sufficient, however, for this article to conclude that as a preliminary matter, detention should never be applied to the most vulnerable populations. In order to ameliorate the victimization of LGBTI individuals in detention, this article presents recommendations to States. Regarding the threshold issue of identifying LGBTI immigrants, it is crucial that States recognize the complexity of LGBTI identities and the barriers to and risks of identification. All detainees should be interviewed at intake in order to determine their perspectives on their sexual orientation. Appropriate training for detention facility staff regarding the particular safety needs of LGBTI prisoners is needed. States are encouraged to collaborate with international agencies, and nongovernmental organizations in determining the most effective approaches for better addressing LGBTI needs in detention; however, the focus should be on the development of appropriate alternatives to detention for LGBTI individuals. 208 notes