Immigration Reform: Transgender Immigrants Skeptical Of New Detention Guidelines Designed To Protect Them

7/9/15 International Business Times

Photo by Andrew Bardwell from Cleveland, Ohio, USA, WikiCommonsJessycka Lettona describes most of her life as lonely, having grown up in Guatemala with a sexual orientation and gender identification that set her apart from most people around her. But the most recent chapter of her life, immigrating to the United States, began with a particularly isolating experience: spending seven months in a men’s immigration detention facility as a transgender woman. “It was a very ugly experience. It was a nightmare,” she said.

From October 2014 to May 2015, Lettona, 27, was detained in Florence, Arizona, and later in Santa Ana, California, after entering the U.S. in a bid for asylum. Fear seized her for those seven months while she endured groping, jeers and verbal harassment on a regular basis.

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