Well isn’t that special? When the new detention center for illegal immigrants comes online in Texas it will be divided up into three sections: one for men, one for women (and children) and a third one for… other. This is apparently in keeping with new ICE policies which include asking suspects which gender they “identify” as. (Washington Times)

Federal immigration authorities plan to build a separate unit for transgender detainees in a new facility under construction in Alvarado, Texas.

The Prairieland Detention Center, expected to open in November, will house a total of 700 detainees and will have 36 beds set aside in a separate unit for transgender detainees, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Detainees are asked about their gender identity when brought into detention facilities in order to make housing accommodations, according to current ICE guidelines.

According to a Human Rights Watch report from March, ICE officials estimate that out of the approximately 30,000 migrants detained by authorities on any given day about 65 are transgender women.

So by their own figures, roughly 0.2% of detainees claim a different gender than their own, but they’re going to reserve 5.1% of the available beds for illegal immigrants who claim to fall into that category. This is being done at a time when activists note the incredibly overcrowded conditions at Texas’ existing detention centers, with more than forty people crammed into cells which are as small as 10 x 30 feet. The conditions at the Brownsville facility last year were cited as being particularly dire. (LA Times)

This 4,900-square-foot detention center near the Mexican border in south Texas was built to house 250, but for the last few months it has been holding twice that, thanks to what U.S. officials say is an unprecedented influx of children and families, most from Central America, hoping for refuge in the United States.

More than 800 of the youngsters are being held at a former warehouse in Nogales, Ariz., now also deployed as a detention center for migrant youths.

Precisely how pressing is the need to identify and segregate the “transgender community” among illegal immigrants? When they’re arrested, aren’t most of them issued uniform jumpsuits which are rather unisex in nature anyway? And we’re talking about a population which is under arrest and facing the potential of either long term incarceration elsewhere or deportation anyway. (Unless, of course, Barack Obama’s policies result in their simply being turned loose into the community, in which case the issue becomes moot.)

So do you suppose that this intensive screening process – which apparently involves simply asking inmates if they are transgender or not – might be open to abuse? If you’re looking at being shoved into one of the heavily crowded, gender specific cells but become aware that there is a nice, smaller unit where you’re sure of a bed and some more privacy, I’m sure none of these characters will simply claim to be transgender to get into the new unit. Further, we keep hearing about allegations of sexual assault inside of these detention centers. I don’t suppose anyone would be sketchy enough to claim to be a transgender woman just to be locked up with all the actual women and children, eh?

This plan almost sounds like some top shelf trolling from the administration at this point. Don’t we have bigger fish to fry on the illegal immigration front than this? And even if this were a priority to tackle, it doesn’t sound like much of a solution to begin with.

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