Federal immigration authorities plan to build a separate unit for transgender detainees in a new facility under construction in Alvarado, Texas.
The Prairieland Detention Center, expected to open in November, will house a total of 700 detainees and will have 36 beds set aside in a separate unit for transgender detainees, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Detainees are asked about their gender identity when brought into detention facilities in order to make housing accommodations, according to current ICE guidelines.
According to a Human Rights Watch report from March, ICE officials estimate that out of the approximately 30,000 migrants detained by authorities on any given day about 65 are transgender women.
One other facility in Santa Ana, California also has a separate unit for transgender women and gay men.
The Human Rights Watch report notes that transgender women have previously faced violence and been subject to attacks when they were housed alongside men.
“Until recently, transgender women in immigration detention were routinely held in men’s detention facilities, where many have been sexually assaulted and routinely harassed by male detainees and guards — the same kinds of abuses that drive many transgender women to flee their home countries in the first place,” the report states.