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SLC activists demand freedom from ICE detention for transwoman Nicoll Hernández-Polanco

By C. R. Manor |
March 30, 2015
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 Salt Lake City protest demands release of Nicoll Hernández-Polanco.
Salt Lake City protest demands release of Nicoll Hernández-Polanco. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Take action:

There is a call-in campaign to “Free Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco!” Please call:

Aditi Hardikar (White House LGBTQ Liaison)
Ph. #: 202-456-7949 email: Aditi_S_Hardikar

Esther Olavarria (Deputy Assistant Secretary DHS)
Ph. #: 202-282-9835 email: Esther.Olavarria @HQ.DHS.GOV

Sample Script:
"Hi, I'm calling to demand DHS/ICE release Nicoll Hernández-Polanco (A089-841-464). Nicoll is a Guatemalan transgender woman currently being detained at an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) all-male ICE facility in Florence, AZ. She continues to be a target of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of ICE and staff for being a transgender woman. She needs to be released now."

Follow updates about Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco on social media using hashtag #FreeNicoll.

Salt Lake City, UT - The detainment of Nicoll Hernández-Polanco is sparking protests across the country with Utah joining the fight. Nicoll Hernández-Polanco is a Guatemalan transwoman seeking asylum. However, she is currently being held in the Florence Service Processing Detention in Arizona. Hernandez-Polanco remains incarcerated in the men’s side of the detention center where she faces sexual harassment and assault.

In Salt Lake City, 20 activists rallied to support Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco at the Matheson Courthouse, rallying with signs and banners. Some wore striped prison shirts and zip ties binding their wrists in symbolic solidarity.

A. Romero of Stand for Queer Lives said, “This woman is being put in a men’s detention center. She’s being harassed by the guards as well as other detainees. Nicoll is not being treated like a human being or being treated with dignity as a woman.”

Protesters marched through downtown SLC on major streets chanting, “Transliberation is the goal! We demand, free Nicoll!” and “Money for jobs and education, not for ICE and deportation!”

Bárbara Ochoa said she came to the protest because, “I have a lot of family and friends who identify as trans and it’s important to show solidarity.” Ochoa went on to say that both undocumented and trans folk face unfair stigmatization, especially by police, border patrol and ICE. “There needs to be immigration reform because the U.S. is very difficult with recognizing amnesty.”

“It’s an UndocuQueer issue,” said Eusebio Echeveste, an organizer with Utah’s Familia TQLM, explaining that people who are both undocumented and Queer face particular hardships.

Echeveste continued, “We’re demanding justice, dignity and safety, not just for Nicoll, but for all transwomen, transmen, all our trans brothers and sisters.”