Transgender woman seeking asylum dies in ICE custody after arriving in migrant caravan: report

Transgender woman seeking asylum dies in ICE custody after arriving in migrant caravan: report
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A transgender woman who arrived at the U.S. border from Central America as part of a migrant caravan seeking asylum in early May reportedly died in government custody last week.

Roxsana Hernandez died of cardiac arrest in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to Buzzfeed. Hernandez had symptoms that included pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV more than a week before her death.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group that organized the migrant caravan, told Buzzfeed that Hernandez had initially asked for asylum on May 9 and was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She was held in holding units that are known as “ice boxes” because of how cold they are, the group said.


Hernandez had previously told Buzzfeed that she was seeking asylum due to the discrimination and violence she faced for being transgender. She told the outlet that MS-13 gang members had gang-raped her.

"Four of them raped me, and as a result I got HIV," Hernandez said.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras alleges that in addition to the holding boxes being cold, they lacked adequate food and medical care. Buzzfeed reported that, on May 16, Hernandez was taken to a transgender unit at a federal prison facility in Milan, N.M., that contracts with ICE.  Just a day later, she was transferred via air ambulance to a hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., where she remained in intensive care until her death.

Three immigrant advocacy groups, including Pueblo Sin Fronteras, are arguing that Hernandez died because of “medical negligence by U.S. immigration authorities."

ICE released a statement to Buzzfeed saying adequate medical care is given to everyone staying at the agency’s detention facilities.

"All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care," the statement said.

The migrant caravan became controversial as it neared the U.S. border in late April.

President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE repeatedly used its existence to argue for stricter immigration laws, and ordered the Department of Homeland Security to turn away the “caravans." On May 3, it was reported that 158 members of the caravan had been allowed into the U.S.