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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Democrats demand better protections for transgender illegal immigrant children

    Democrats demand better protections for transgender illegal immigrant children

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2014

    Dozens of congressional Democrats asked federal health officials Monday to take extra steps to protect gay illegal immigrant children from abuse while they’re in custody, including ensuring that transgender children are housed with the sex they identify as.

    Saying reports of mistreatment “continue to emerge” from federal facilities, the lawmakers asked the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement to improve care for the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children who streamed across the border over the last year, and who are still coming, though in smaller numbers.

    “We request ORR to work with providers to ensure that LGBT unaccompanied minors receive affirming and culturally competent care, that placement and housing assignments for transgender youth are consistent with their gender identity, and that appropriate preventative measures and response systems are in place to address incidents of sexual assault as mandated by law,” said the lawmakers, led by Rep. Raul Grijalva, Arizona Democrat.

    The Democrats said ORR is delinquent on writing new rules that would apply prison rape standards to the 100 or so facilities the agency has contracted to house illegal immigrant children.

    A spokesman for the agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.
    The lawmakers didn’t list any specific instances of abuse nor give statistics about the rate of illegal immigrant children who identify as other than heterosexual that are being held in federal facilities.

    Instead, they pointed to statistics that estimated nearly one in five children in foster care and 15 percent of children in the juvenile justice system are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Those children are twice as likely to be victimized, the Bureau of Justice Statistics said in a 2009 report the lawmakers cited.

    It’s unclear whether the illegal immigrant children being held by the federal government are analogous to the U.S. juvenile population.

    The Obama administration says that under its interpretation of federal law, illegal immigrant children from countries other than Canada or Mexico caught at the border are to be processed by immigration agents and then turned over the HHS, which is to care for them while they await a judge’s decision on whether to deport them.

    Nearly 70,000 children traveling without their parents crossed the border in fiscal year 2014, which ran from Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014. The peak came in May and June, when 10,000 children a month crossed.

    The rate has dropped since then, to slightly more than 2,600 in November, according to the latest statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Feds release anti-rape rules for illegal immigrant children housing

    Say transgender kids should choose which sex to live with

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2014

    Health and Human Services released long overdue guidelines Friday ordering facilities that house illegal immigrant children to set up sexual abuse prevention programs, and to be prepared to deal with tricky cases such as transgender or intersex children.

    The rules, which congressional Democrats had demanded earlier this week, govern everything from pat-downs to evaluating each child for their likely risk of being targeted for sexual abuse or harassment, and govern how the children should be housed while at the private facilities, which operate under a government contract.

    The goal is to bring the 100 or so facilities that house the children into compliance with federal prison standards — though the unaccompanied children present a host of unique circumstances, given educational, cultural and language barriers and the fact that the population is, by definition, under 18 years of age.

    HHS said the facilities must be prepared to investigate abuse allegations, must put all employees who come in contact with children through thorough background checks, and need to take special care in cases where children have "any gender nonconforming appearance or manner or identification as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or intersex."

    In the case of transgender children, the guidelines instruct the facilities to ask the children which sex they identify as, and to take that into consideration when deciding whom to house them with.

    That had been a particular request of the Democratic lawmakers.

    "We're talking about protecting kids who are being specifically targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity," said Rep. Raul Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat who spearheaded a letter to HHS earlier this week demanding they finalize their rules. "LGBT youths must receive affirming and culturally competent care. They deserve the dignity of housing assignments consistent with their gender identity, and adequate preventative and response measures to keep them safe from harm."

    HHS rushed the rule into place, cutting corners on the usual regulatory comment and review process, arguing it was urgent to get the standards done.

    "Based on HHS' determination that a delay of these rules would be contrary to the public interest, HHS finds good cause to waive the notice of proposed rulemaking and to issue this final rule on an interim basis," the department said.

    The rules gave the facilities until June 24 to comply, but urged them to try to do so earlier.

    HHS said it generally discourages pat-downs for the children, but if they are necessary they must be done under strict rules and the reason for each pat-down must be documented and submitted to the government for review.

    It's unclear how much of a problem sexual abuse is in the facilities housing the illegal immigrant children, tens of thousands of whom surged across the border this year.

    Mr. Grijalva said in his letter that it is a problem, particularly for gay children in juvenile corrections facilities, and said there were increasing reports of it being a problem in the facilities housing the illegal immigrant children.

    But HHS didn't release any data on complaints or prevalence of abuse.
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