Wednesday, April 22, 2015

UPDATE: Free Nicoll: Guatemalan Transgender Woman is Given Asylum After 6 Months in All-Male Detention Center

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 2:02 PM

click to enlarge One of the many protests in Phoenix demanding for Nicoll's release. - MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena
  • One of the many protests in Phoenix demanding for Nicoll's release.

(Added after publication at 7:30 p.m.:)

Nicoll Hernández-Polanco was given asylum in the U.S. We heard the news a couple hours after a judge set her bond. She is en route to Tucson as we speak!

"Nicoll won her asylum hearing today and was released on her own recognizance! This is the best possible result we could have hoped for," says Vidula Patki, one of her pro-bono attorneys. 


It looks like Nicoll Hernández-Polanco may be getting out by before the end of the week. Her bond hearing was today and the judge set it to $3,000—it was previously anticipated that the bond would be up to $10,000.

Hernández-Polanco is a transgender woman from Guatemala who's pleading for asylum over the violent sexual, physical and emotional abuse she endured both in her native country and later in Mexico. Sadly, rather than ensuring she'd be in a safe place once she reached U.S. soil, the 24-year-old was thrown in an all-male detention center in Florence, where she was sexually assaulted by a detainee, and continuously degraded by guards and other detainees.

She's been in that place for six months, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to grant her humanitarian parole or transfer her to an all-female detention center, even though their policy says they're supposed to tend to the safety of detainees.

Mariposas Sin Fronteras, a Tucson immigrants and LGBT rights advocacy group, created a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the bond. They have $2,765, which means hopefully in a matter of hours, Hernández-Polanco will be able to walk out of detention and continue to fight for asylum in this country.

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