An LBGT immigrant rights activist interrupted President Obama during a speech at a White House reception on Wednesday.
“President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention,” said the person who identified as a trans woman.
“I am tired of the violence we’re facing,” the woman told Obama.
Immigrant rights activist identified the woman as Jennicet Gutiérrez, a founding member of FAMILIA TQLM, an immigrant rights organization.
“You shouldn’t be doing this. Can we escort this person out. Can we have this person removed please,” a frustrated Obama said over the microphone.
At one point Vice President Joe Biden held his hands up to his face in frustration after the exchange went on for over two minutes.
“There is no pride in how LGBTQ and transgender immigrants are treated in this country. If the president wants to celebrate with us, he should release the LGBTQ immigrants locked up in detention centers immediately,” Gutiérrez said in a statement sent to Fusion.
“The White House gets to make the decision whether it keeps us safe, ” Gutiérrez said.
A 2014 Fusion investigation found ICE officials detain an average of 75 transgender detainees each night. A significant portion are women who have requested asylum.
Even though transgender immigrants make up just one out of every 500 detainees, they account for one out of five confirmed sexual abuse cases in ICE detention, Fusion’s investigation found.