Transgender hormone therapy for illegal aliens is just one of the many new offerings of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) as part of the Obama administration’s continuous efforts to make the nation’s immigration detention system a more pleasant experience.
ICE, a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is charged with implementing and enforcing federal immigration laws, including detaining and deporting those who break the law.
As part of the latter responsibility, ICE recently released its revised Performance-Based National Detention Standards 2011 (PBNDS 2011) manual, a 355-page operations document that sets the agency’s standards for treating illegal aliens housed in its nearly 300 detention facilities.
Among the series of noteworthy changes found in PBNDS 2011 — many of which are already being implemented — are calls for ICE to provide taxpayer-funded access to “hormone therapy” for transgendered detainees.
According to the ICE operations manual, transgender illegal aliens will have access to “transgender-related health care and medication based on medical need,” with treatment following “accepted guidelines regarding medically necessary transition-related care.”
However, ICE Spokeswoman Gillian Christensen has been quick to stress that transgender medical treatment will only apply to those detainees who are already receiving hormone therapy and not those who wish to undergo a sex change while in custody.
As such, according to PBNDS 2011, hormone therapy eligibility will be accepted if a new detainee “self-identifies as transgender” within 12 hours of arriving at a detention facility.
At that point, a specially trained ICE detention officer will inquire into a “transgender detainee’s gender self-identification and history of transition-related care.” If it is determined the self-professed illegal alien transgender detainee has been receiving hormone therapy, ICE will continue to provide it to him or her.
However, while hormone therapy for “transgendered” individuals may be the most eye-raising change found in PBNDS 2011, it is just one small part of a wide range of free medical services now offered for illegal detainees — services which include access to mental health services, dental work, and a two-week supply of prescription drugs upon release or deportation.
Moreover, ICE will not only assist pregnant illegal detainees with their delivery, but will also provide free transportation to an abortionist if the life of the mother is deemed to be endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
In addition to ICE’s medical services, the new federal detention standards also include ethnically diverse diet options, unfettered access to legal services, preferred-religious materials, and increased visitation and recreation. Those enhanced recreation amenities include access to television, board games, exercise equipment, and sports such as soccer, volleyball and basketball.
It should be noted that these new guidelines are a reflection of longstanding efforts by the Obama administration to make detention facilities less prison-like, arguing that detainees there are being held on civil immigration charges, not criminal offenses.