Trans woman dies in custody and migrants blame authorities

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A trans woman has died in US custody, with migrant groups blaming the death on the “medical negligence” on the part of American authorities, whom they blame of killing her. Roxana Hernández, 33, died in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She had been seeking asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry on the US border earlier this month, when she was detained in ICE custody on 13 May. She went to the boarder as part of a ‘refugee caravan’ – a group of more than 1,300 people – organized by immigration support group Pueblo Sin Fronteras. In a statement announcing Hernández’s death, ICE said that she had been admitted to hospital on 17 May with symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV. The medical staff issued that she had died of cardiac arrest. The statement also said that Hernández had entered the US illegally three times since 2005 – but was arrested and removed on her last attempt to stay in the country in 2014. But a statement released by Pueblo Sin Fronteras, alongside other migrant groups Al Otro Lado and Diversidad Sin Fronteras, disputed ICE’s version of events and described the death as “institutional murder.” “Roxy died due to medical negligence by US immigration authorities. 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,” it reads, “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.” The groups added that, in ICE custody, Hernández suffered from lack of warmth, food and necessary care. Hernández had been fleeing violence and discrimination she faced because of being transgender in her home country of Honduras. She told Buzzfeed News last month about an attack in Honduras when a group of gang members shouted homophobic and transphobic slurs and then raped her.

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