Lawyers: ICE arrests trans migrant woman month after release

One month after winning her release from immigration detention, a transgender woman from El Salvador was arrested and taken back to the same jail because the U.S. government is appealing the judge’s decision, the woman’s lawyers said Friday.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement re-arrested the trans woman Monday during what her lawyers expected would be a routine check-in. She suffers from seizures as well as symptoms of a traumatic brain injury and had been released from the hospital days before the check-in, said Wes Brockway, a lawyer with the Santa Fe Dreamers Project. She since suffered another seizure Tuesday, Brockway said.

The Associated Press is identifying the trans woman only by her first name, Joselin, because her lawyers say she faces the threat of violence and persecution if she is deported to El Salvador due to her transgender identity.

The case emerges as a group of congressional Democrats called on ICE to release transgender migrants “at risk of sexual abuse and assault" and to bring jails used to hold transgender detainees into compliance with current standards.

“Transgender individuals face persecution that ranges from physical and sexual violence to other forms of mistratement based on their gender identity and expression,” the lawmakers said. “This already vulnerable population faces a heightened and unique set of injustices while in immigration detention.”

Brockway argued Joselin’s continued detention is unnecessary because she had a place to stay and was not a flight risk. ICE did not respond to requests for comment Thursday and Friday.

Joselin is being held at the Cibola County Correctional Center in rural Milan, New Mexico, which has a special ICE unit for transgender detainees. ICE has said it made a significant investment when it opened the section for transgender inmates,…

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