The news is currently filled with images and stories of the current migrant refugee caravan that is Tijuana, but another migration took place earlier this year, which gives an important look at the consequences of not providing humanitarian aid to those seeking asylum. Earlier this year we reported on the death of Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Honduran trans woman, who was seeking asylum with a caravan traveling to the U.S.
The caravan had been traveling since April, by foot, from Central America to the U.S. border. In May, Rodriguez — also known as Roxana Hernandez — was captured by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and died about two weeks after being detained. At the time ICE released a statement saying that Rodriguez died from symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration, and complications associated with HIV. But now we know Rodriguez experienced much more than just symptoms from an illness.
A newly released autopsy report revealed Rodriguez had been beaten inside a detention unit for transgender women.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 27, 2018
Rodriguez died on May 25 at the Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque but had been detained on May 13 and held at the the transgender unit at Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico. According to the Daily Beast, it’s unclear when the abuse took place because Rodriguez was transferred to a local hospital just one day after being detained at the Cibola County Correctional Center. She remained in intensive care until she died.
Forensic pathologist Kris Sperry released a report that said Rodriguez had visible marks on her body that showed she had been abused including “deep bruising on her rib cage and deep contusions on her back, which were ‘indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with a blunt object,'” the Washington Post reports. Sperry’s findings comes from the second autopsy conducted on Rodriguez.
“According to observations of other detainees who were with Ms. Hernández Rodriguez, the diarrhea and vomiting episodes persisted over multiple days with no medical evaluation or treatment, until she was gravely ill,” Sperry wrote. Sperry also concluded that Hernandez had “thin bruises” on her back and sides, and “extensive hemorrhaging” on both her wrists. He said these markings are “typical of handcuff injuries.”
The Transgender Law Center has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her family.
More from @sdut on our work with @familiatqlm, @OfficialBLMP & @ImmCivilRights to hold the gov't accountable for Roxsana Hernandez's death: https://t.co/EmOYrku9DJ. Support our #JusticeforRoxsana legal & organizing campaign here: https://t.co/ZsUzcaAvP6
— TransgenderLawCenter (@TransLawCenter) November 27, 2018
When Rodriguez first began walking with the caravan earlier this year, she said that she was fleeing because of violence she faced in her home country along with discrimination as a transgender woman.
Her reasoning is much like the LGBT group that is also seeking asylum but remain in Tijuana.