As we move forward in continuing to oppose trump and his regime’s ideas on immigration we publish this question and answer series on Trans Immigrants. In the coming weeks we are going to explore groups that work for our sisters and brothers detained in ICE detention facilities and are otherwise threatened by the authorities.
The article “What’s The Deal With Tans Immigrants,” found on Trans Lifeline gives to not only the Trans community, Queer community and LGBT community some of the answers to the questions that we hope have been floating around. Our Trans sisters and brothers many times are the forgotten ones in the discussion on Immigrant rights, detention and deportation. It is our duty in our Queer and LGBT community to bring our people to the forefront and to talk about the indignities they face not only from ICE but also from some detainees. Let us hope that many of our allies will find answers and questions that they have also been struggling with. The questions are answered by Victoria Vilalbe former detainee and co-founder of Transcend Arizona.
Here are a few excerpts from the article. The article opens this way;
As our Founder, Nina Chaubal has been held in immigrant detention in Arizona, we’ve faced a steep learning curve ourselves coming to understand why she’s being detained, how we an support her, and how you all can be part of the #FreeNina campaign. We have come to realized that many Trans Lifeline callers and supporters know very little about how immigration works. Going into 2017, we know that Trump’s America will be even more hostile to LGBTQ immigrants, so we wanted to set the record straight. We sat down with co-founder of Transcend Arizona, Victoria Villalba, who is a trans latinx activist, organizer, and former detainee herself. She generously agreed to answer our top 10 questions, and here’s what she said!
Set the stage to be educated.
What was your experience in detention like?
Detention was one of the most traumatizing and emotionally scarring things that ever happened to me, being arrested for something as simple as wanting to survive. To the present day, I suffer from many post-detention illnesses (mental, emotional problems).
Why should LGBTQ and allied people care about immigration?
Often LGBTQ people flee their country of origin because they are unsafe — facing physical violence, severe discrimination, and/or death threats. These people seek asylum, protection granted by a host nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee. People who request asylum at the border or are caught at the border trying to cross illegally are taken into custody and sent to an immigration detention facility.
Can you describe a typical scenario in which LGBTQ immigrants are put into ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) custody?
ICE, Border Patrol, and law enforcement are continually looking for undocumented people through various means — immigration checkpoints, busts on employers, and even traffic stops. These officials will put undocumented people in immigration detention centers even if they have already been living in the US for many years and have not committed any crime.
Please go to the full article and read about what our people are facing and know that with the new regime in DC it is getting worse and worse each day. We ask that everyone find a group that is working with Trans/queer immigrants, give a donation and let’s help free our people. Be sure to read this report:
Do You See How Much I Am Suffering Here? A Report on Abuses Towards Transgender Women in US Immigration Detention by Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/03/23/do-you-see-how-much-im-suffering-here/abuse-against-transgender-women-us
and Victoria leaves us with this:
How can people help support your work?
We are a grassroots organization that operates on a shoestring budget. If people are able to donate, every dollar makes a huge difference. We are all volunteers so all donations go directly to our work, there is no overhead. We especially need money to be able to pay bonds so that people can get out of detention. https://www.youcaring.com/transgenderrefugeesandmigrants-733111
If people follow us on Facebook, (https://www.facebook.com/transcendarizona/) they can stay updated about fundraising campaigns or petitions.