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Winnfield, LA - An LGBTQ+ asylum-seeker in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at a Louisiana county jail is calling for a civil rights investigation into the physical and homophobic verbal abuse he has experienced at the facility while in solitary confinement under protective custody.

In the CRCL complaint filed last Thursday, the man describes the repeated mistreatment and verbal abuse at Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, Louisiana, which operates under LaSalle Corrections, a for-profit Louisiana-based company with several jails and prisons which have been converted into immigration detention centers.

“Guards regularly call me [homophobic] slurs. When they say these things, they make gestures with their hands as if they are penetrating me. Sometimes they mock the things I say by repeating them in a high-pitched voice, which feels really homophobic to me. I have no choice but to stay quiet and ignore them.”

The man also describes guards provoking him, including when a guard intentionally put his fingers in the man’s food. He describes other instances of guards repeatedly daring and challenging the man to hit them in the face while calling him homophobic slurs.

The complaint joins others filed by immigrant rights organizations, like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which have called for Winn’s contract cancellation due to its historical culture of abuse, life-threatening conditions, and racist practices. Patterns of mistreatment and neglect are commonplace in ICE’s detention system, and the Biden administration must take the necessary steps to end its reliance on incarceration and pursue humane and dignified community-based alternatives to detention.