Trans Activist: ICE Must Be Held Accountable for Trans Salvadoran Asylum Seeker’s Death

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Johana Medina, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker from El Salvador, died at an El Paso, Texas, hospital this weekend after spending seven weeks in immigration jail, according to several LGBTQ groups and advocates who knew her. Medina had sought medical treatment for nearly two months for complications related to HIV/AIDS before finally being transferred to the hospital last week. She died four days later. Medina is believed to be the second transgender migrant to die in or after being released from ICE custody since Trump became president. The other is Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Honduran transgender woman who died while in ICE custody in May of last year. An autopsy revealed that she was physically assaulted prior to her death. We speak with Isa Noyola, deputy director at Mijente and prominent transgender and immigrant rights activist based in Pheonix, Arizona.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to look at the Trump administration’s deadly treatment of transgender asylum seekers in immigration prisons, after a transgender woman died after being released from ICE custody Saturday. Johana Medina, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker from El Salvador, died at an El Paso, Texas, hospital this weekend after spending seven weeks in immigration jail, according to several LGBT groups and advocates who knew her. Medina had sought medical treatment for nearly two months for complications related to HIV/AIDSbefore finally being transferred to the hospital last week. She died four days later.

AMY GOODMAN: Johana Medina is believed to be the second transgender migrant to die in or after being released from ICE custody since Trump became president. The other is Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Honduran transgender woman who died while in ICE custody in May of last year. An autopsy revealed she was physically assaulted prior to her death.

For more, we’re going to Phoenix, Arizona, where we’re joined by Isa Noyola. She’s deputy director at Mijente, the former deputy director at the Transgender Law Center and a transgender and immigrant rights activist herself.

We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Isa. Can you describe what you understand were the circumstances of her death?

ISA NOYOLA: The circumstances of Johana are the same circumstances that so many trans women inside immigration detention centers are facing, which is cruel and inhumane treatment and human torture. And so, we understand that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seen trans women, immigrant trans women, as disposable, you know, from—we see it through the ways that they’re placing trans women through administrative segregation and also denying them medical care and medical treatment.

And Johana is just another example, another extreme story of so much loss and of so much pain that someone has endured, even after the long and arduous journey of arriving to the border. And so, Johana left her hometown with so much hope, of El Salvador, her country, and she had so much hope for a better life, to live her life fully, authentically as a trans Latina immigrant woman, and only to be met with violence at the border and discrimination, and even more violence inside detention facility.

Read full article here: https://www.democracynow.org/2019/6/5/trans_activist_ice_must_be_held