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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Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

Things That Matter

Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

One of the stranger things to happen during the Trump presidency was the unlikely alliance between Trump and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). The former frequently spoke disparaging of Mexicans and pursued cruel and inhumane immigration policies that directly targeted the constituents of the latter. Yet AMLO was a major supporter of Trump’s most severe immigration policies and, in fact, helped bring them to fruition.

Now, with a new president in the White House, AMLO is being asked again to recalibrate his approach to immigration but having once been a major ally of Trump, how will he work alongside a President Biden?

Presidents Biden and AMLO host a virtual meeting to discuss a wide range of topics.

President Biden is hoping that Mexico’s President AMLO can help him avert another crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, given AMLO’s close alliance with Trump and support of his harsh immigration policies, Biden may face an uphill battle.

But as the administration faces an uptick in migrants attempting to cross into the U.S., Biden is hoping that AMLO can become a partner in preventing another cycle of out-of-control migration from Central America. The Mexican president appeared open to collaboration, issuing a joint statement committing to address climate change, the pandemic and migration north.

Their first head to head meeting comes after a rocky start for the two leaders. Mexico’s President was one of the last leaders in the world to congratulate Biden on his election victory, with many saying AMLO fears a Biden administration as potentially more interested in pressuring Mexico on its own domestic matters.

President AMLO was a key player in Trump’s harsh and inhumane immigration tactics.

Despite his racist rhetoric directly targeting Mexicans and his cruel and hardline immigration policies that largely shifted the pressure to Mexico, AMLO largely accepted Trump’s worst policies with little resistance.

As migrant caravans formed in Central America and attempted to make their way to the U.S. passing through Mexico, AMLO unleashed his newly formed Guardia Nacional to stop them in their tracks. His agents arrested and deported thousands of migrants back to their home countries, often using tear gas and other extreme tactics to do so.

And President AMLO said nothing as Trump implemented the “Remain in Mexico” policy which forced thousands of refugees and asylum seekers to await their claims on the Mexican side of the border, amid a global health pandemic, shifting the burden to Mexican officials.

Biden looks to continue many of Trump’s policies.

Although Biden campaigned against Trump’s harsh immigration policies, the president wants many of the same things from AMLO that Trump asked for: help in keeping Central American migrants from immediately surging north toward the United States through Mexico. And although Biden declared he would break sharply with Trump on immigration, he’s only abandoned some of his predecessors policies.

The Biden administration has formed a task force to unite parents separated from their children Trump’s family separations policy. He’s also begun welcoming back a limited number of asylum seekers who were exposed to violence and kidnappings in dangerous areas of Mexico under a Trump-era program. But the Biden administration has kept in place a separate Trump policy that empowers agents to rapidly expel new arrivals at the border to Mexican authorities as Biden hopes to avoid a crisis that challenged his predecessors.

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Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

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Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has remained a popular tourist destination as people seek out places with fewer restrictions. However, Mexico’s popular beach destination of Tulum apparently still has some restrictions – for LGBTQ folks – that the police are quick to enforce.

A Canadian couple was briefly detained by police for allegedly kissing on the beach.

Police in the popular resort town of Tulum, about 90-minutes south of Cancun, briefly arrested a gay couple for kissing in public on a beach, alleging that the couple was not allowed to kiss in public because children were present.

According to local media reports, police said they were reacting to a report by someone else on the beach who had claimed that the men were “committing immoral acts.”

The couple were handcuffed together and ordered in to the back of a patrol vehicle until a crowd of onlookers formed and began to shout disapprovingly at police after one of the men explained to the crowd why they were being detained.

Outraged bystanders gathered around the couple and urged the police to let the men go.

The crowd began shouting in support of the couple, calling the actions homophobic and demanding the couple’s release.

The pressure from the crowd apparently prompted officers to release the men after a few minutes of dialogue. The presence of Escalante herself might also have been a factor.

In response to the arrest, Quintana Roo Tulum Police said: ‘We are an inclusive and impartial police both for residents and tourists who visit the state of Quintana Roo. So no abuse of authority will be tolerated.’

Video of the incident quickly went viral on social media with outrage being the common reaction.

Video and photos of the arrest went viral after on social media accounts, including that of local politician Maritza Escalante Morales, who denounced the actions of the officers. Escalante happened to be at the beach with her family when she noticed the officers approach the couple, she said, and joined the crowd to advocate for the couple’s release.

“I want to file a PUBLIC COMPLAINT, because the treatment and type of authorities we have in our municipality is inexcusable. Yesterday while I was on the beach with my family, we noticed around 4:30 that 2 police squads in their ATVs approached a group of young foreigners. After about 20 minutes, a patrol arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs,” she explained on TikTok.

“The policemen were VIOLENT,” Morales added, “and gave arguments such as ‘there are families and children and they cannot be seeing this. I am FURIOUS because it is not possible that in the XXI century this type of oppression against the LGBT+ community continues. We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these authorities.”

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