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June 29, 2015Washington, DC, United StatesOperational

ICE issues new guidance on the care of transgender individuals in custody

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) issued further guidance to personnel on how to care for transgender individuals in custodial settings.

“The Transgender Care Memorandum reaffirms ICE’s commitment to provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for all those in our custody, including those individuals who identify as transgender,” said ICE ERO Executive Assistant Director Thomas Homan. “We want to make sure our employees have the tools and resources available to learn more about how to interact with transgender individuals and ensure effective standards exist to house and care for them throughout the custody cycle.”

The memorandum addresses many elements of custody with regard to the treatment of transgender individuals.  These elements include:

  • Data Systems: appropriate data systems will be updated to record an individual’s gender identity, assisting the agency in data collection and informed decision-making.
  • Identification and Processing: comprehensive officer training and tools will be provided to ensure an individual’s gender identity can be identified early in the custodial life cycle to ensure care in accordance with the new guidance.
  • Housing Placements: the memorandum includes a voluntary ICE detention facility Contract Modification that calls for the formation of a facility-based multidisciplinary Transgender Care Classification Committee that will be responsible for making decisions related to searches, clothing options, housing assignments, medical care, and housing reassessments for transgender individuals.

This new guidance is the result of a six-month agency Working Group that examined these issues with subject matter experts, sought input from transgender individuals, and visited various non-federal facilities across the country to observe best practices. The full guidance is available at:

Additionally, ICE also announced the designation of a new National ERO Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Coordinator and each of the 24 ERO Field Offices will also designate local LGBTI Field Liaisons who will serve as resources for officers. 

The Transgender Care Memorandum is intended to complement existing ICE and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies and standards, including the DHS PREA Standards.