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.”