Tag: katie halper

‘They Were Abusing Us the Whole Way’: A Tough Path for Gay and Trans Migrants

Jade Quintanilla, a transgender woman from El Salvador, says she was robbed, exploited and abused on the trip to seek asylum in the United States.CreditKayla Reefer for The New York Times

TIJUANA, Mexico — Jade Quintanilla had come to the northernmost edge of Mexico from El Salvador looking for help and safety, but five months had passed since she had arrived in this border town, and she was still too scared to cross into the United States and make her request for asylum.

Violence and persecution in Central America had brought many transgender women such as Ms. Quintanilla to this crossroads, along with countless other L.G.B.T. migrants. They are desperate to escape an unstable region where they are distinct targets.

Friends in San Salvador, Ms. Quintanilla said, were killed outright or humiliated in myriad ways: They were forced to cut their long hair and live as men; they were beaten; they were coerced into sex work; they were threatened into servitude as drug mules and gun traffickers.

Still, just a few miles from the border, Ms. Quintanilla, 22, hesitated. “I’ve gone up to the border many times and turned back,” she said in a bare concrete room at the group home where she was living, holding her thin arms at the elbows. “What if they ask, ‘Why would we accept a person like you in our country?’ I think about that a lot. It would be like putting a bullet to my head, if I arrive and they say no.”

While the Trump administration has tightened regulations on asylum qualifications related to gang violence and domestic abuse, migrants still can request asylum on the basis of persecution for their L.G.B.T. identity. But their chances of success are far from certain, and the journey to even reach the American border is especially risky for L.G.B.T. migrants.

Trans women in particular encounter persistent abuse and harassment in Mexico at the hands of drug traffickers, rogue immigration agents and other migrants, according to lawyers and activists. Once they reach the United States, they regularly face hardship, as well.

There are no numbers available disclosing how many L.G.B.T. migrants seek asylum at the border each year or their success rate, but lawyers and activists say that the number of gay, lesbian and trans people seeking asylum each year is at least in the hundreds.

In weighing whether to risk the journey north, many L.G.B.T. migrants from Central America gamble that the road ahead cannot be worse than what they are leaving behind.

Victor Clark-Alfaro, an immigration expert at San Diego State University who is based in Tijuana, said that he has noticed more openly L.G.B.T. people in recent years making the journey to the border with hopes of seeking asylum. He said they are often the victims of powerful criminal gangs in Central America and Mexico — but also of bigoted neighbors, police officers and strangers.

“The ones who can’t hide their sexuality and gender, there’s a huge aggression toward them. And of them, trans women are the ones who are most heavily targeted,” Mr. Clark-Alfaro said. In Central America and Mexico, “almost everyone is Catholic, and so the machismo and religious sensibilities provoke attacks against people who break gender norms.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an arm of the Organization of American States, has spoken out against the high rates of violence against L.G.B.T. people in Central American countries and Mexicoand has noted that the crimes against them are often committed with impunity.

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A Frida Kahlo mural inside Jardin de las Mariposas, an L.G.B.T.-focused drug rehabilitation home in Tijuana, Mexico, that has hosted dozens of Central American migrants in recent months.

 

CreditKayla Reefer for The New York Times

Shortly after Ms. Quintanilla and two friends began their journey north to Tijuana from Tapachula, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, in January, they were robbed. With no more money, they walked along the highway for long stretches of time in between rides, about 13 days altogether, Ms. Quintanilla said.

In Veracruz, the group boarded the so-called Beast, a train in Mexico often used by migrants to travel north; there, she said, she was sexually exploited.

“They say you can ride on top of the train,” Ms. Quintanilla said. “But the reality is different. We had to give our services so that they’d let us on. They were abusing us the whole way through. And if we refused, they’d threaten to push us off.”

She reached Tijuana in February and was taken in by Jardin de las Mariposas, an L.G.B.T.-focused drug rehabilitation home that has hosted dozens of Central American migrants in recent months. The director of the Mariposas, Yolanda Rocha, with whom Ms. Quintanilla has spoken about the journey, vouched for the account Ms. Quintanilla shared with The New York Times. She said that Ms. Quintanilla had appeared traumatized and exhausted when she arrived at Mariposas.

Warnings about trans migrants being neglected and abused in United States custody have amplified fears for Ms. Quintanilla and other trans migrants. A 2016 report by Human Rights Watch detailed pervasive sexual harassment and assault at detention facilities, based on interviews with dozens of transgender women.

In May, a transgender woman named Roxana Hernandez died in New Mexico, while held in custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, after experiencing cardiac arrest and H.I.V.-related complications.

In interviews with The Times, several trans women described humiliation by guards and said they had been sexually assaulted by other detainees.

Seventy-two migrants who identify as transgender were being held in custody by ICE as of June 30, according to data provided by the agency. The vast majority are from Central America and Mexico. It is difficult to pinpoint how many L.G.B.T. people might be in detention because they often choose not to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity, for fear of discrimination, even though it could help their asylum case.

“A lot of the queer men experience threats and physical assault and sometimes sexual assault. The trans women who are put into men’s facilities experience sexual assault at remarkably high numbers,” said Aaron Morris, a lawyer and the executive director of Immigration Equality, which provides legal assistance related to immigration and asylum to L.G.B.T. people.

ICE operates a housing unit specifically for transgender detainees at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico. Activists say that the center is far better than others, where trans women are held alongside men. But many trans women are reluctant to relocate to the Cibola center, Mr. Morris said, if it is far away from their lawyers or networks of family members.

Reports of abuse at detention centers range from guards making fun of natural facial hair that grows in between grooming to other inmates threatening violence. Of 237 allegations of sexual abuse or assault filed by ICE detainees in 2017, the agency’s records show that 11 were filed by transgender people.

In some cases, migrants say they are not taken seriously when they report attacks.

One trans woman from Honduras said she had been harassed and sexually assaulted several times by men while in custody at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, which is operated by CoreCivic. The woman requested anonymity because her asylum request is currently under review.

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A Pride Flag covered the main entrance of the shelter in Tijuana.CreditKayla Reefer for The New York Times

Speaking in an interview with her lawyer present in Los Angeles, she described several safety issues that stem from the center grouping trans women with men and having them share bathrooms. At one point, she said, she awoke to a man forcing himself onto her and shoving his tongue into her mouth; she said she was told to ignore it by the guards, even though she was afraid that she would get in trouble because of rules against physical contact.

In other instances, she said, men would pull back the curtains in the shower to masturbate in front of her and other trans women.

“They say we have support and protection in there, but the reality is different,” the woman said. “I’m not the only one. Ask any trans woman, they will each have a bad story about something that happened to them in detention.”

In a statement, ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett said that the agency has “zero tolerance for all forms of sexual abuse or assault” and that it investigates every allegation reported.

Activists have demanded that the government avoid holding trans women and other L.G.B.T. migrants in detention altogether. Just over half of trans people are held at the specialized unit at the Cibola center, the ICE spokeswoman said, whereas the dozens spread across other facilities are “housed in units at the facility based on their physical gender.”

The Honduran woman said she was disappointed to find the guards at the center where she was held to be so dismissive. In her hometown, she said, she had been viciously attacked by a man who struck her with a machete. She never reported the crime, though he had targeted her several times before, she said. “In Honduras, it’s better not to go to the police, because that just makes it worse. If they don’t kill me, they’ll kill one of my family members.”

Raiza Daniela Aparicio Hernandez, 33, a transgender human-rights activist from El Salvador, said she was physically assaulted in 2016 by four police officers in her home in San Salvador, which she shared with her boyfriend. The officers had harassed and threatened her before, arriving at their home without a warrant and demanding to be let in, before barging in and assaulting them. “They beat me. They beat me a long time,” she said.

Ms. Aparicio Hernandez and her partner tried to file a formal complaint about the abuse in El Salvador she said, but they ran into obstacles along the way. She left El Salvador in June 2017 and arrived at the San Ysidro point of entry, on the border between Tijuana and San Diego, to request asylum.

Before speaking to The Times, Ms. Aparacio Hernandez shared her account with her lawyer. She won asylum through the courts on the merits of her case.

“Leaving my country was such a hard decision,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of friends die in this fight, at the hands of the government, and people being beat and tortured. And this is happening at the hands of police officers. It’s sad, and it’s difficult, but you have to fight.”

Marcos Williamson, the detention relief coordinator for Transcend Arizona, a Phoenix-based nonprofit group that helps L.G.B.T. migrants, said asylum seekers who are released from detention on bond often struggle to make ends meet because they are given neither benefits nor work permits. L.G.B.T. people, who often do not have the support of family members, are particularly alone.

For now, Ms. Quintanilla feels safe at Mariposas, though she has been accosted on the streets of Tijuana and harassed, she said. She is grateful to the center for taking her in. And she is not yet ready for what comes next in her long journey.

“I decided to leave because I didn’t want to die. It would just be too much for them to reject me,” she said. “What good would it have been to flee my country?”

Morning Wine Cellar 7/13/18 – Sherrita Dixon-Cole Will Not Get Justice

Rape Victim, Sherrita Dixon-Cole will have to live in a world where the armed and dangerous rapist that kidnapped  and raped her while in uniform carrying out state sanctioned oppression will still be roaming the streets where he originally found her. 

 

The Gangsterism Of #MAGA And Tax Payer Funded White Supremacy

MORNING WINE CELLAR 7/6/18

Audio/Video riff on a short facebook post where I niggasplain what this maga shit is on a street level along with the Adam Bloom pool harassment video. 

Our 4th Of July Super Patriot Freedom Liberty N Rights N Stuff Episode.

Why Did the Rhode Island Democratic Party Endorse an Alt-Right Supporter Over a Progressive Incumbent?

Moira Jayne Walsh, a 27-year-old former waitress and labor organizer, captured a bit of national attention after she won a seat in the

 Rhode Island House in 2016. “I decided that I wasn’t just going to work on legislation, because there has been so much neglect in my neighborhood for so many years that I wanted to make sure that people felt that they had a sense of community,” she told The Atlantic that November

Minneapolis Investigates Police Use Of Ketamine On Suspects

 

NPR’s Michel Martin speaks to Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix about the investigation into the Minneapolis police and EMTs sedating people in custody.

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Comcast starts throttling mobile video, will charge extra for HD streams

 Jon Brodkin

     Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile service is imposing new speed limits on video watching and personal hotspot usage, and the company will start charging extra for high-definition video over the cellular network.

The short version is that videos will be throttled to 480p (DVD quality) on all Comcast mobile plans unless you pay extra, while Comcast’s “unlimited” plan will limit mobile hotspot speeds to 600kbps. Only customers who pay by the gigabyte will get full-speed tethering, but the cost would add up quickly as Comcast charges $12 for each gigabyte.

Highland Park detective on leave after pastor’s arrest

The Highland Park Police Department has placed a detective on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the arrest of a pastor and gubernatorial campaign manager for Democrat Shri Thanedar.

 

 

 

A South Carolina police union has lodged a protest about a high school’s summer reading list over the school’s inclusion of two novels that discuss the topic of police brutality. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union said the award-winning “The Hate U Give” was an “almost indoctrination of distrust of police.”

The freshman class of Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, was asked to read one of eight books over the summer break. One of the novels, “The Hate U Give,” features the story of a young girl who witnessed police shoot her unarmed best friend to death, an experience which leads her to activism. The book, by Angie Thomas, opened at number one on the New York Times’ young adult best-seller list in February 2017.

Man accused of killing 3 after judge denies ex-wife’s request to have his guns taken away

Man accused of killing 3 after judge denies ex-wife’s request to have his guns taken away

An Alabama man is accused of shooting three people to death after a judge denied his ex-wife’s attempts to order him to surrender his weapons, according to The Decatur Daily.

The news outlet reported on Tuesday that police say Darwin Brazier, 43, of Ardmore, used a semi-automatic SKS rifle with a high-capacity magazine to shoot and kill his ex-wife and two other people before killing himself. 

NETFLIX DEAL. Get it straight from me. "Lee Daniels behave" LOVE YALL FOR REAL.

A post shared by Mo'nique (@therealmoworldwide) on

Phoenix And William Live 6/19/18

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/winecellarmedia/2018/06/19/wine-cellar-live-61918

Chadwick Boseman gives away award.

Kathy Griffin Beckys Up on Kevin Hart over not doing Trump material onstage.

South Jersey woman tried to set a flag on fire… but what flag?

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the third differentiates between Mexicans and Jews.

Start video at 5:45

Former sex worker doesn’t think current sex workers should have right’s

 

Morning Wine Cellar 6/19/18

TRIGGER WARNING 
Quick update on #Goodcops covering up rape and some fresh #BeckyLivesMatter content. 

Mitt Romney, Ralph Nader And Bernie Sanders Need To Shut Up

 

Plus, we found a new rapper because Fallen  Loco be looking into folks that get silly in the comment section. 

The Black Panther Film Is Probably Pretty Cool.

 

Wine Cellar Media – News And Comment

Moment sobbing vice cop is arrested at work after he tried to blackmail a man he saw visiting a sex worker.

DC Gareth Suffling was caught after making incriminating searches on the police computer just days before he launched a blackmail campaign against the victim
https://www.thesun.co.uk/…/cop-arrested-work-blackmail-man…/

Nichole Nespolini, 40, of Melbourne, was arrested Monday after rear-ending another car at an intersection in Melbourne, where Nespolini then pleaded with the motorist not to notify police, Florida Today reported.
https://nypost.com/…/mom-driving-with-baby-arrested-for-du…/

The White House replaced all the drivers shuttling the press around Mar-a-Lago after one of them was detained for having a gun in his luggage during a security screening.
https://nypost.com/…/mar-a-lago-shuttle-drivers-get-the-bo…/

A Massachusetts man has been accused of deliberately crashing a stolen bakery delivery truck into a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey, injuring a pregnant woman and two other people.
https://apnews.com/1e086febbeee46b2ac578c98c46a419f

A Las Vegas police officer — who reportedly had been assigned to guard the door to gunman Stephen Paddock’s hotel room during the Oct. 1 massacre — barricaded himself in his home Wednesday evening, prompting an hourslong standoff with police and a police SWAT unit.
http://www.foxnews.com/…/las-vegas-cop-facing-child-sex-cha…

Tuesday, March 28th 2017
Father turns in daughter after finding journal with plans of mass shooting at Md. school
http://wjla.com/…/father-turns-in-daughter-after-finding-jo…

A Westchester high school’s evacuation procedures are being questioned by the Justice Department after two students who use wheelchairs were left behind during a fire emergency.
https://www.nbcnewyork.com/…/New-Rochelle-High-School-Westc…

SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR ADULTS
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