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How You Can Help 12 Trans Women Detained by ICE

Trans Women ICE Detention

The Santa Fe Dreamers Project is raising money to help an influx of trans women in need.

Faced with a higher-than-ordinary number of transgender women who need bond money in order to escape abysmal ICE detention, one New Mexico-based immigration advocacy project has turned to GoFundMe to raise the money to free 12 transgender women.

Allegra Love, an immigration lawyer who is also the executive director of the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $50,000 to cover bond for 12 transgender women currently in ICE detention while awaiting hearings for their asylum cases. According to Love, they usually hear about one or two transgender women at a time who are facing bond hearings. When they heard that 12 women in New Mexico's Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico, she turned to GoFundMe to raise the hefty sum they'd need to give the women their freedom.

Each of the transgender women are seeking asylum in the U.S., because they faced extreme violence due to their gender identity in their home countries, all of which are in Central America, Love told Out. With the money, an asylum seeker waits for their hearing outside of ICE custody, which is notoriously harsh for trans women and can include abuse, solitary confinement and lack of resources afforded to other detainees. The American Civil Liberties Union also recently released a report about the abysmal conditions in ICE detainment centers.

"They all have strong asylum cases," Love told Out in a phone interview. Love added the money will end up being a revolving fund. After a hearing, Santa Fe Dreamers Project will receive the bond money back and can use it to free another asylum seeker. "A donation is not one time to get one girl out, over the next few years, it could help several women get out."

There is no standard for how much a judge can set for an asylum seeker's bond, Love said. She said that a variety of factors affect how high a price a judge might put on a detainee's freedom. Some of the factors include whether a person's person is a close family member, whether the person has a criminal record and whether they have a lawyer. But some factors are mostly arbitrary, including where your hearing takes place, who the judge is and how the judge happens to feel that day.

"It's ultimately very discretionary," Love said.

Since the GoFundMe launched a week ago, they've already been able to release four women who were in detention, meaning they only need enough money to free eight more, according to an update on the GoFundMe page. Love confirmed to Out that the four women should be out within one or two days.

RELATED | Behind the Legal Efforts to Keep LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers Safe

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