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Transgender migrant dies while in US custody

Transgender migrant dies while in US custody
June 05
12:00 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico: The death of a transgender woman while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has prompted advocates to demand that LGBTQ migrant detainees be freed until their cases are heard.
The outcry came even as President Donald Trump and others increasingly criticize the practice known as “catch and release” in which migrants are freed while subject to deportation.
Federal officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine what caused the death of the 33-year-old Honduran migrant at an Albuquerque hospital. The woman was admitted after showing symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV.
Activists identified the migrant as Roxana Hernandez and said she was part of a highly publicized caravan of Central American asylum seekers who traveled through Mexico to the U.S. border at San Diego last month. The effort drew the attention of Trump, who tweeted that they shouldn’t be allowed to enter the U.S.
Authorities listed the woman’s name as Jeffry Hernandez when she was taken into custody in San Diego. She was later transferred to El Paso, Texas, and then to a detention center in New Mexico where she was housed in the transgender unit.
She was the sixth detainee to die in ICE custody since October 2017.
Nineteen members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, expressing concerns about how LBGTQ migrants are housed and whether they are protected from abuse.
“These individuals, particularly transgender women, are extremely vulnerable to abuse, including sexual assault, while in custody,” said the letter signed by U.S. Rep. Kathleen M. Rice, a Democrat from New York, and 18 other U.S. lawmakers.
The letter asked the federal agency to use its discretion to release migrants considered at high risk for abuse so they are safe throughout their immigration proceedings. AP

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