Things That Matter

She Fled Violence In El Salvador And Passed A Credible Fear Interview But Still Died While Under ICE Custody

Diversidad Sin Fronteras / Facebook

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is facing backlash for the preventable death of a Salvadoran trans woman. Johana “Joa” Medina Leon was in ICE custody for six weeks before dying of complications from HIV. Medina Leon’s death is highlighting the growing concern of LGBTQ+ people held in ICE detention centers. Namely, LGBTQ+ activists are demanding that ICE treat trans asylum seekers by their preferred gender to prevent sexual assaults and harassment.

Another trans asylum seeker has died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

Credit: @NoMoreDeaths / Twitter

Diversidad Sin Fronteras reported that Johana Medina Leon, an asylum seeker from El Salvador, has died in ICE custody. Medina presented herself at the U.S.-Mexico border for political asylum and had been in detention since. The first step to getting political asylum is to present yourself at the U.S. border to border patrol officials. Medina Leon is the second trans woman to die in ICE custody since President Trump changed policies for U.S. immigration officials and asylum seekers.

Medina Leon was in ICE custody for six weeks before she died a preventable death.

Credit: @IEquality / Twitter

According to Refinery29, Medina Leon passed her credible fear interview in mid-May but ICE officials did not parole Medina until she began to complain about chest pains. It was then that she was taken to Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas on May 28. She died on June 1 from complications from HIV.

In their statement, ICE deadnamed Medina Leon erasing her trans identity.

Credit: @rebekahentralgo / Twitter

Deadnaming trans people is the practice of using a trans person’s name given to them at birth. It erases their trans identity and leads to an underreporting of trans murders and hate crimes because of the misgendering.

ICE went further and blamed Medina Leon, and other migrants, for their deaths.

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“This is yet another unfortunate example of an individual who illegally enters the United States with an untreated, unscreened medical condition,” Corey A. Price, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in El Paso, said in a statement. “There is a crisis at our southern border with a mass influx of aliens lured by the lies of human smugglers who profit without regard for human life or well-being. Many of these aliens attempt to enter the United States with untreated or unknown diseases, which are not diagnosed until they are examined while in detention.”

Diversidad Sin Fronteras is combatting the narrative from ICE that Medina Leon is to blame for her death and blaming ICE for their lack of care.

“Joa traveled legally in Mexico as well,” reads a post by Diversidad Sin Fronteras. “She patiently waited over a month in Tapachula, Chiapas for her transitory visa. She did nothing wrong. This did not have to happen. #NIUNAMAS #JUSTICEFORLAJOA

Last year, Roxana Hernandez was being held for deportation back to Honduras when she died from complications related to HIV.

Credit: @willripleyCNN / Twitter

ICE officials said that the Honduran woman died of natural causes related to her HIV diagnosis. However, as more people investigated, it is being claimed that she died from abuse and lack of necessary food and healthcare. Medina Leon’s death is stoking fears that more LGBTQ+ migrants will have deadly negligence in the near future.

A Guatemalan Child Migrant Had His Throat Slit And Was Found Next To His Dead Father In Mexico

Things That Matter

A Guatemalan Child Migrant Had His Throat Slit And Was Found Next To His Dead Father In Mexico

Thomas Northcut / Getty Images

The migrant crisis has a death toll. Whether it is migrants dying trying to traverse some of the most hostile parts of North America, violent gangs, police brutality, medical negligence in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention, or homicidal coyotes, the death toll is rising. Immigration policies in Mexico and the U.S. are partly to blame for the deaths and the desperation to live a life free of fear and violence is what forces families to be put in harm’s way. That is the story of Cristian, a Guatemalan boy left to die with his father’s body.

A 10-year-old Guatemalan boy is recovering after being left for dead in the desert with his father’s body.

Credit: @RafaelRomoCNN / Twitter

CNN reports that a 10-year-old migrant boy was left for dead with his throat slit next to his father’s body. The boy was found in the Mexican state of Morelos. The father and son were making their way from Guatemala to the U.S. with the help of a coyote.

Despite having hired the smuggler to get them from Guatemala to the U.S., they were abandoned in Mexico.

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The father and son were abandoned by the coyote and that’s when they were kidnapped, according to CNN. That is when the pair were kidnapped by members of the Los Zetas drug cartel and held for ransom. The cartel members contacted Cristian and his father Rudy’s family in the U.S. demanding $12,000. CNN reports that they could only get $8,000 and that’s when the cartel ceased communication.

Cristian and Rudy were on the journey with Rudy’s brother and his son.

Credit: @llharley1991 / Twitter

Rudy’s brother and his son managed to escape the gang members and CNN reports that they are now in the care of Mexican authorities. Cristian was found on July 6 with his throat slit lying next to the body of his dead father. Cristian’s survival is a miracle.

Migrants are regularly the victims of crime when passing through Mexico to the U.S. border. The crimes committed in Mexico against migrants range from robbery to murder.

The latest tragedy in the migrant crisis has Christians calling out Evangelicals for their harmful and dangerous approval of Trump’s immigration policies.

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The “Remain In Mexico” policies and the increased restrictions on asylum claims is leading to an increase in deaths for the migrant crisis. Men, women, and children are dying trying to get the U.S. and some have started dying once in immigration authority custody.

The deaths of migrants desperate to reach the U.S. border have garnered more attention in recent months.

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The tragic deaths of Óscar Martínez Ramírez and his very young daughter shocked the U.S. but haven’t spurred any change. The father and daughter were desperate to reach the U.S. border to apply for asylum from El Salvador. The father and daughter tried swimming across the Rio Grande after being denied a chance to request asylum at a port of entry.

The migrant crisis has become so prevalent in the U.S consciousness that presidential candidates are being asked how they will save lives if elected.

“Watching those images of Óscar and Valeria is heartbreaking. It should also piss us all off,” Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro said during the Democratic Debates. “If I were president today, I would sign an executive order that would get rid of Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, the ‘Remain In Mexico’ policy, and the metering policy. This metering policy is basically what prompted Óscar and Valeria to make that risky swim across the river.”

Castro added: “They had been playing games with people coming and seeking asylum at our ports of entry. Óscar and Valeria went to a port of entry and then they were denied the ability to make an asylum claim. So, they got frustrated and they tried to cross the river and they died because of that.”

The policy of metering at the border is not new but Trump has ramped it up making it more and more dangerous for asylum seekers.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

According to NPR, “metering is the term that Customs and Border Protection uses for a process by which it limits the number of people who can request asylum at a port of entry at a U.S.-Mexico border crossing each day.”

NPR reporter James Frederick explains, “As far as U.S. asylum law says, anyone who steps foot in the U.S. has the ability to request asylum. So what CBP is doing is they’re stationing a guard at border crossings. Asylum-seekers that show up there, they tell them they have to turn around and go put their name on a waitlist, basically, back in Mexico and wait for their turn to request asylum. And these lists are getting very long. People are waiting weeks or sometimes months for their opportunity to request asylum. The latest figure we have is that 19,000 asylum-seekers are waiting on the Mexican side of the border for their chance to request asylum in the U.S.”

It is important that Americans stay engaged in the discussion about immigration and asylum seekers.

Credit: @BetoORourke / Twitter

The Trump administration is further restricting asylum claims and only making it harder and more dangerous for people to seek legal asylum in the U.S. Call your representatives and senators and let them know what you think about the change to asylum laws attacking migrants.

READ: Yesterday’s Attack On An ICE Detention Center Could Have Resulted In The Mass Murder Of Migrants

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

Culture

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

juanpablodipace / Instagram

Argentinian actor Juan Pablo Di Pace recently came out in a TEDx video recorded in March. The video was released in late June giving Di Pace’s coming out story a special place in the 2019 Pride Month calendar. Social media erupted in applause and praise for the actor living his truth after so much time hiding in the closet.

Juan Pablo Di Pace came out of the closet as a gay man and is already living it up.

That’s right. Di Pace was living it up in Madrid during pride not long after the video of his talk coming out of the closet was publish. Honestly, it is something everyone should be celebrating. Someone being able to live their life fully is something that some people will never be able to understand. There is an attitude of in the Latino community that tries to shun and silence the LGBTQ+ community. Seeing a prominent member of the Latino community sharing his coming out story is such a positive example for younger people struggling to come out.

Di Pace’s coming out via a TEDx is one of the greatest moments of Pride Month 2019.

Not only did Di Pace come out of the closet, but his story about coming out and learning who he is is also very relatable to most members of the LGBTQ+ community. It wasn’t like he figured out that he was different. It had to be told to him.

“My mother says that I came out of her womb with a paper and pencil in my hand and that I used to draw until I fell asleep, which is why I had very few friends. But, actually, the truth is that, unlike most of the boys in my class, I preferred to play with girls. I was more comfortable. They were more fun,” Di Pace told the audience at his TEDx talk. “So, I didn’t think anything of it, right? Until I heard a word that I had never heard before. It started like a thunder that got closer and louder to me as it exploded like egg in my face: marícon, faggot. Well, I didn’t really understand that word at first but the word was here to stay for years. A little know book, as you might know as the Bible, starts with, ‘In the beginning, was the word and the word was made flesh and it dwelt among us.’ So, after failed attempts to fight against this word and try to make friends, my only option was to make friends with white sheets of paper. Paper would not shout or kick me. Paper was kind and on paper everything and anything was possible, just like in the movies.”

The moment of being made to feel and know that you are different from everyone else is something most people deal with at the beginning of coming out. It is a harsh, and some times dangerous, moment that starts the process of coming out and learning who you are as a person.

Fans of the actor showered him with praise and love for coming out.

Credit: judygeitz / Instagram

Coming out, no matter how old you are or how successful you are, is a terrifying experience. You have to be prepared for people to shun you. You need to be ready for people to speak down to you. It is not an easy or fun process for a lot of people.

The emotional reception to Di Pace’s coming is filled with love and appreciation.

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This is something the Di Pace should be so proud of. It is so important for people to come out of the closet. By coming out of the closet, you force others around you to confront their own ideas of the LGBTQ+ community. When people know someone personally who is LGBTQ+, they tend to become more accepting of the community allowing for more people to come out in a safer environment.

You are with your chosen family now, Juan.

Credit: stillwater1979 / Instagram

All people in the LGBTQ+ community understand the importance of a chosen family. Even if your family accepts you, it is important to have a chosen family. It is a way to learn what it means to be gay and how to live life open in a world that can sometimes be really cruel. Your family will want to help but it is hard for your mom and dad to teach about LGBTQ+ culture.

Congratulations on coming out Juan. Sending lots of love.

READ: Grab The Tissues! These Latinas Told Us Their Coming Out Stories And We Have Been Sobbing In Pride

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