HRC Calls on ICE to Investigate the Death of a Transgender Woman
May 31, 2018
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, called on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of Roxsana Hernandez — a transgender woman who died while in the custody of ICE. Hernandez recently petitioned for asylum after traveling as part of a caravan of migrants fleeing violence in Central America.
“We are deeply saddened and troubled by the passing of Roxsana Hernandez, and we call on ICE to conduct a thorough investigation into her death,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “LGBTQ migrants, especially transgender women, face higher rates of abuse in immigration detention facilities. Hernandez’s death raises serious questions regarding the treatment she received while in ICE custody, and we expect ICE to provide answers to those questions. As HRC mourns the loss of Roxsana Hernandez, we continue to stand in solidarity with those seeking asylum from violence and prosecution in their home countries.”
Recent reports regarding a caravan of migrants traveling to the southern border from Central America confirmed that LGBTQ people, including transgender women, were among those seeking to claim asylum in the United States. Violence associated with gangs and drug trafficking has made El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala some of the world’s most violent countries. Advocates have said that being LGBTQ substantially increases vulnerability to violence, with transgender individuals facing the highest risk. Neither El Salvador, Honduras, or Guatemala have laws protecting people from violence or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In response to reports of the caravan of migrants, the Trump-Pence Administration purposely limited the daily number of migrants who were allowed to present themselves to immigration officials at the U.S. border, delaying asylum claims. Hernandez asked for asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry but was assigned for expedited removal without the opportunity to present her case to an immigration judge.