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News > World

US: Activists Protest Transgender Migrant's Death in ICE Custody

  • Members of the LGBT community protest the death of Honduran transwoman Roxana Hernandez.

    Members of the LGBT community protest the death of Honduran transwoman Roxana Hernandez. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 June 2018

Roxana Hernandez was detained in ICE detention facilities, which are notorious for their freezing temperatures.

Over 50 LGBT rights advocates protested outside the United States' Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Albuquerque, New Mexico Wednesday calling for justice following the death of Roxana Hernandez, a 33-year-old transwoman from Honduras, who died in ICE custody on May 25.

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She died at a hospital in Albuquerque after she was held in ICE detention facilities - notorious for its freezing temperatures - due to HIV-related complications, including pneumonia and dehydration.

Roxana came to the United States as part of a highly-publicized caravan of Central American migrants seeking asylum. The group included dozens of other transwomen who were fleeing persecution in their home countries.

Roxana was initially taken into custody in the city of San Diego, California, after having voluntarily presenting herself to officials at the San Ysidro port of entry with an application for asylum.

She was later transferred to a detention facility in El Paso, Texas, and eventually taken to Cibola County Detention Center in the state of New Mexico.

Joaquin Sanchez-Leal, a lawyer of the Albuquerque-based Instituto Legal, said Roxana had been in ICE custody for 16 days before she died.

"Instead of treating them as individuals that have severe medical conditions, they're detaining them as if they're at 100 percent," he said, adding that his organization has found that many of the detainees receive inadequate care for their medical conditions.

Immigrant-rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras released a statement, which questioned whether Roxana had received adequate medical care while in U.S. custody.

“Her body and spirit deteriorated quickly” once she was taken into custody the statement read. “Once she was transferred to the immigrant prison in Cibola, New Mexico, U.S. immigration authorities finally recognized — despite her having been in government custody for over a week — that she needed medical attention,”

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