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US immigration officials said they are opening a new detention facility in Alvarado, Texas that will accommodate transgender women who are in the country illegally, costing taxpayers a total of $42 million, according to a Fusion report.
“The facility is expected to house about 700 detainees, including a separate 36-bed unit for transgender individuals,” an immigration official told Fusion.
In an Associated Press report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said they were not able to provide the total number of transgender illegal immigrants being detained in facilities by the agency in the country.
The agency didn’t provide details about how the facility for transgender detainees would be different than other centers, and a regional ICE spokesman declined to make officials available for an interview.
Advocates say transgender immigrants often face particular challenges, including a higher risk of sexual assault, an inability to get hormone replacement treatments, and dealing with guards unfamiliar with gender identity issues.
Located in Alvarado, Texas, a Republican-controlled area, the facility will be placed in a town of about 4,000 residents that is just about 40 miles southeast of Dallas, Texas.
A similar immigration facility operates out of Santa Ana, California, where 28 transgender illegal immigrants were detained by immigration officials last week.
Only about 1 in 500 detainees by ICE are transgender women, according to a Fusion investigation conducted back in 2014.
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