LGBT advocacy groups the Transgender Law Center and the Rapid Defense Network filed a class-action lawsuit on Thursday demanding that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement release all transgender people in their custody because they are allegedly more susceptible to COVID-19.
The lawsuit names as plaintiffs 13 men who identify as trans women who came from countries like Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras, and are currently in ICE detention centers in Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and California. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and U.S. Attorney General William Barr are named as defendants.
The suit reads:
"Transgender people in civil immigration detention, as a group, are at a greater risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 than the general population and, if they do become infected, are more likely to become seriously ill or die."
Trans people "in civil immigration detention — many of whom came to this country seeking safety from violence and persecution in their home countries because of their gender identities — are among the most vulnerable during the current pandemic," the suit further claims.