TRans-GENDER PAROLE RELEASE

 Photos by Kerry Sherck

Photos by Kerry Sherck

“I left Honduras because of the discrimination against trans-gender women. In Honduras we are treated as if we have no right to live, you feel as if you aren’t even able to breathe the air. The authorities discriminate against us, beat us, and insult us. I came here to save my life, so that I wouldn’t be killed like so many of my trans friends. You suffer a lot along the way, but it is the sacrifice one has to make to get to where we are now.

The situation at Cibola is really bad. I don’t know how we found the strength to carry on and not abandon our hopes for something better. Thank God we are free now. We didn’t believe it at first, but the attorneys helped get us out, and we are so grateful to everyone who has helped us. The people who have received us here in New Mexico have been incredible. We never expected such a welcome and all of the girls are really happy to be free.”

- ARELI
  MELANNIE

MELANNIE

In early August 2018, we were able to get 19 transgender women released from the Cibola Trans-pod on parole, after months of indefinite incarceration in horrible conditions at Cibola County Correctional Center. This is the result of the efforts of a community of passionate and generous individuals and organizers - New Mexico, you continue to inspire us with the way you show up for our immigrant companerxs. Conditions could not be worse in the trans pod at Cibola and each woman who is released is a victory!

  YEIMY

YEIMY

 

 

Over the last year or so, Cibola County Correctional Center has been a prison for over 80 transgender women, all immigrants seeking political asylum and protection from incredible violence against trans-women in their home countries. The vast majority of the trans women seeking asylum are from Central America and Mexico, and many of those recently released came in with the migrant caravan back in April. They turned themselves in at the border and asked for political asylum, breaking no law in the process. Under current policy, everyone who does this is being put in immigration detention, and despite the fact that ICE has specific memos saying that asylum seekers should get parole, ICE has been denying all parole requests and keeping people detained indefinitely while they await their asylum hearing.

  ZAHARA

ZAHARA

The ACLU has sued aggressively on this issue in a case known as Damus and on July 2, it won a significant victory when a federal judge blocked blanket detention and parole denial for asylum seekers. It was in the wake of this ruling that we were finally able to get these 19 women released on parole. It felt great to celebrate this victory in the midst of such inhumanity, but the fight is not over yet. No one should be detained in these conditions to begin with and there are still 21 trans women inside Cibola. Our goal is to have every woman released from the trans pod, and we are grateful for the extraordinary efforts of our community and partner organizations in helping to make this happen.

  SHANELLE

SHANELLE

All photos by Kerry Sherck