The National Center for Transgender Equality joins advocates and allies in mourning Roxsana Hernandez, a 33-year-old transgender woman detained by ICE at the time of her death.
In news reports, it is revealed Hernandez died at a hospital from cardiac arrest, one week after being initially hospitalized for pneumonia, dehydration, and other complications associated with HIV. Hernandez was taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection officials on May 9 after seeking asylum at the San Ysidro legal port of entry.
As quoted by Buzzfeed, Hernandez was initially fleeing her native Honduras after being raped. "Trans people in my neighborhood are killed and chopped into pieces," she said. "They kill trans people in Honduras. I'm scared of that."
According to the report, she was then locked in a so-called “icebox” – so named because of their notoriously low temperatures - where she was denied adequate food and medical care. After a short stay in a federal prison, she was held in ICE custody at the intensive care unit of an Albuquerque hospital where she died on May 25.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, gave the following response to the news of Ms. Hernandez's passing:
"The death of Roxsana Hernandez is the result of the continual human rights abuses carried out by ICE. Despite federal law mandating the case-by-case assessment of detainees, transgender people held by ICE are consistently left in solitary confinement for twice the length of their counterparts. They face abhorrent rates of sexual assault by other detainees and even by ICE staff. And, as Roxsana's story makes clear, they are denied even the most basic forms of medical care.
Roxsana's death is tragically characteristic of the criminal abuse and neglect faced by transgender detainees in ICE custody. This administration has revealed a deep lack of humanity in the ways it continually endangers the most vulnerable among us."