Things That Matter

Transgender Honduran Woman Died In ICE Custody, Weeks After Seeking Asylum

Last night, people gathered at the Metropolitan Courthouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to protest the death of Roxana Hernandez, a transgender undocumented women. Protesters blame immigration officials for the unexpected death of the 33-year-old Honduran woman who attempted to gain asylum just weeks ago.

Hernandez was part of the migrant caravan that traveled by foot from Central America to the U.S. border in April. Many of the women and children, were seeking asylum to escape the violence in their countries. According to BuzzFeed, Hernandez was attempting to flee Honduras because she faced transgender discrimination.   

Hernandez died on May 25 at the Lovelace Medical Center (LMC) in Albuquerque but had been detained on May 13 and held at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico, in a transgender unit.

According to a statement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Hernandez was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV.

“Later in the day she was transferred via air ambulance to LMC, where she remained in the intensive care unit until her passing. LMC medical staff pronounced her deceased May 25 at 3:32 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, and identified the preliminary cause of death as cardiac arrest,” according to a statement.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the organization that assists migrants during their mission to the U.S. border, said in a Facebook post that immigration officials denied Hernandez medical care, and that she had been suffering for days.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras alleges that Hernandez “was processed and held for 5 days in the dreaded ‘icebox’ — holding cells with extremely low temperatures — in U.S. Customs & Border Protection suffering cold, lack of adequate food or medical care, with the lights on 24 hours a day, under lock & key. During her first week in the United States Roxy’s body and spirit quickly deteriorated. Once she was transferred to the immigrant prison in Cibola immigration authorities finally recognized (despite her having been in government custody for over a week) that she needed medical attention.”

According to a statement released by ICE, an agency spokesperson claims that they followed protocol and have contacted her next of kin. Hernandez is the sixth ICE detainee to die since Oct. 1, 2017. The release continues stating that Hernandez attempted to enter the U.S. illegally twice, once in 2005 and another in 2009. On Jan. 23, 2014, she illegally re-entered the country a third time, and was arrested, processed and removed March 11, 2014.

“Roxy died due to medical negligence by U.S. immigration authorities,” Pueblo Sin Fronteras stated on Facebook. “In other words, she was murdered, much like Claudia Gómez González was murdered by a Border Patrol agent’s bullet less than a week ago. Roxy died in the country she had sought to start a new life in, she died for being a transgender woman, a migrant who was treated neither with respect nor with dignity.”


READ: Here’s What Customs And Border Protection Is Now Saying About The Death Of An Undocumented Woman In Texas

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

Things That Matter

Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

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A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Things That Matter

A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Photo via Getty Images

For most Latinas, having a quinceañera is a right-of-passage. Your quinceañera is the official milestone that proves you’re finally a woman. It’s a party that you look forward to your entire childhood. It’s that one time in your life that you, and only you, get to feel like a princess.

Unfortunately, not every girl has the luxury of having a quinceañera. Some girls’ families don’t have the finances to throw a huge party.

In Miami, a group of “fairy godmothers” organized a quinceañera for a homeless teen girl whose family recently emigrated from Mexico.

The girl, Adriana Palma, had moved with her family from Mexico to Miami in early 2020. But because of the pandemic, her father lost his job. Adriana, her parents, and her three younger brothers spent the next four months living in their SUV.

Relocating to another country is hard enough, but Adriana faced another challenge by being homeless, struggling to learn English, and chasing down random Wi-Fi signals in order to complete her homework assignments. It was a struggle, to say the least.

And to make matters worse, Adriana’s fifteenth birthday was coming up. Adrian’s parents told her that, since they were homeless, they wouldn’t be able to throw her a quinceañera. “We will be together as a family,” her mother, Itzel Palma, told her. “That will be my gift to you.”

Luckily, the Palma family had a group of guardian angels watching out for them. Being homeless wouldn’t prevent Adriana from having a quinceañera.

A charity called Miami Rescue Mission had already hooked up the Palmas with a small apartment for the family to get back on their feet. “Cover Girls”, a subgroup of the Miami Rescue Mission, dedicate their time to help women and children who are in tough circumstances.

When Lian Navarro, leader of the Cover Girls, found out about Adriana’s situation, she knew she had to help. Cuban-Amercian herself, Navarro knew how important quinceañeras are to young Latinas. She called up her group of volunteers and they got to work making Adriana’s dream come true.

The 60 “fairy godmothers” decided to throw Adriana the quinceañera of her dreams in a local Miami church. They settled on a theme: Paris.

The volunteers decorated the bare church in gold Eiffel towers, supplied pink macarons and French pastries, they topped off each table with a floral centerpiece. They gifted Adriana with every item on her wish list. Not to mention, Adriana was able to be dressed up in a frilly pink quinceañera dress. Her hair and makeup were professionally done. A professional photographer captured her special day.

“We want them to have these memories,” said Cover Girl volunteer, Tadia Silva, about children and teens who grow up homeless. “They have to believe they are worth all that because they are.”

After her beautiful quinceañera, Adriana appeared to know her true worth. At the end of the party, she gave her “fairy godmothers” personalized notes of thanks. “I felt like a princess,” she said.

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