Marichuy Leal Gamino is a transgender woman who has been detained by ICE for over a year at the for-profit Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. At Eloy, she has been imprisoned with men and was recently raped by her cellmate. Below is the latest letter signed by Transgender Law Center and a broad coalition of LGBT and immigrants’ rights advocates calling for Marichuy’s release.
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While in detention Marichuy has reported experiencing sexual harassment, bullying, lewd comments, and threats of rape for weeks. She reported the abuse to an on-duty detention officer and was ignored and told to “deal with it.” Immediately after the assault, Marichuy reported the abuse but the staff instead tried to cover up the attack by pressuring Marichuy to sign a statement that the rape was consensual.
Marichuy grew up in Phoenix Arizona. She’s very close with her loving family, and one day she’d like to be a cosmetologist because she says she likes to make people feel beautiful. Her family has moved to Eloy, Arizona so they can visit on the weekends. But the isolation and abuse she faces inside is unspeakable.
Her mother says, “I want ICE to understand the harm they’re causing and let her go so she can be home with me. ICE knows they are responsible for her safety but they let this happen. I wish that ICE officials would put themselves in my shoes, as a mother. How would they feel if someone they loved were in this position? Anger isn’t enough to express what I feel. We need her home.”
ICE and the Eloy administration have shown that they are not capable of detaining transgender women with minimum levels of safety and dignity.