ICE Retaliates Against Transgender Woman Raped in Eloy Detention Center by Placing Her in Solitary Confinement Against Her Will; Family and Supporters Continue to Call for Marichuy’s Immediate Release as Her Mental Health Worsens
Marichuy Leal Gamino, a transgender woman raped in the privately-run Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, was placed in solitary confinement for two days by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Marichuy (legal name: Jesus Leal Gamino, A# 047-283-870) was placed in segregation against her will and as calls for her release escalated with support from over 60 LGBT and immigrant rights organizations nationwide and solidarity actions in Los Angeles and New York.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, using confinement to protect a threatened population is a punitive measure. Solitary confinement is known to cause severe psychological symptoms, including depression, insomnia, racing thoughts, and hallucinations. For Marichuy, these symptoms were compounded by post-traumatic stress due to her recent assault. On August 4, after two weeks of living in the same detention facility where she was assaulted, she reported feeling suicidal.
Karolina Lopez, a transgender woman formerly detained in Eloy, explains, “What’s happening to Marichuy is not so different from what I went through, or what I saw other trans women in Eloy experience. I was harassed by two men, then placed in solitary confinement. Officials said it was for my own security, but they treated me like I had done something wrong. I almost went crazy, I still have fear of small spaces, and of officials. If ICE actually cares about Marichuy’s security, they should let her go.”
Since Marichuy was first detained in Eloy over a year ago, ICE has failed to provide even a minimum level of safety and dignity. Now, in response to the pressure of public attention, ICE has threatened to send Marichuy to yet another detention facility, further from her family and community in Arizona, instead of using its discretion to release her from detention.
Around the nation, LGBTQ and immigrant communities are calling for Marichuy’s immediate release. A petition to the national ICE headquarters has more than 3,500 signatures, calling on Director Andrew Lorenzen-Strait to free Marichuy as ICE has demonstrated they cannot keep her safe. Over 60 organizations around the country, including the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Detention Watch Network, have publicly called for Marichuy’s release back to her family and community, where she can begin to heal from the rape that took place under ICE’s watch.