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EIG Dispatch | July 3, 2015

July 3, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • ICE Issues New Guidance on the Treatment of Transgender Detainees
  • Reciprocal Embassies Open in Havana, Cuba and Washington, DC on July 20th
  • Equatorial Guinea Requiring Work Permit Revalidation

ICE Issues New Guidance on the Treatment of Transgender Detainees

On June 19, 2015, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued new guidelines on how to care for transgender adult detainees. This memorandum is the result of a six-month study based on subject matter experts, input from transgender individuals, and visiting non-federal facilities. The goal of the memorandum is to “provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all those in [ICE] custody, including those individuals who identify as transgender.” The memorandum focuses on three main elements of care: data records, early identification, and housing placements.

ICE will implement updated data systems which will allow the agency to appropriately record an individual’s gender identity. The updated data systems will record the detainee’s “Biological Sex” and “Gender” separately for identification purposes.

As a result of the memorandum, ICE officers will undergo comprehensive training on new initial placement procedures. These procedures will require the officers to ask the detainee whether or not he/she would like to disclose his/her gender identity. If the detainee responds that he/she is transgender the memorandum advises the officer to ask a series of questions to verify the detainee’s preferences, these include:

  • Do you prefer to wear male or female clothing?
  • Do you feel you are at risk for your safety based on your gender identity?
  • Do you have a preference for whether a male or female staff member searches you?

Furthermore, the memorandum instructs the ICE detention facilities to create a Transgender Classification and Care Committee (TCCC) that will be responsible for creating a detention plan for the transgender detainee, which includes clothing options, housing assignments, medical care, and housing reassignments. All transgender detainees will be provided with undergarments consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, transgender detainees who were receiving hormone therapy before detention will have continued access to the treatment while in detention. When determining housing placements the TCCC must consider the following options: general housing consistent with the detainee’s biological sex; general housing consistent with the detainee’s gender identity; a protective custody unit; or medical or administrative segregation.


Reciprocal Embassies Open in Havana, Cuba and Washington, DC on July 20th

The U.S. and Cuba plan to restore full diplomatic relations and reopen embassies on July 20, 2015. The U.S. Embassy in Havana will offer American citizen services such as passports, emergency assistance, and consular information sheets for Cuban travel. In addition, the U.S. Embassy will issue visas to Cuban citizens that plan to travel to the U.S.

Diplomatic relations have been stalled between the two countries since 1962 when the U.S. imposed a trade embargo on Cuba. This May, the U.S. removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, but the trade embargo is still in place.  There have also been plans to resume ferry and air transportation between the U.S. and Cuba.


Equatorial Guinea Requiring Work Permit Revalidation

Equatorial Guinea is requiring work permits to be validated by July 8, 2015 to make sure they have not been issued erroneously. In May, the Labor Ministry cancelled all work permits due to identified irregularities indicating possible abuse and corruption. In order to revalidate the permits, employers must provide documentation of recruitment authorization and payment along with the current work permit and a letter addressed to the Labor Ministry. If the work permit cannot be validated, the employer must submit a new application.