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Immigrant Rights Activists Are Blaming The Death Of An Asylum-Seeking Trans Honduran Woman On ICE

A transgender woman who participated in the Central American caravan earlier this month passed away Friday from cardiac arrest while in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, BuzzFeed News reports.

After being treated at a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico for symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV, Roxsana Hernandez was transferred through air ambulance to Albuquerque’s Lovelace Medical Center last week, where she remained in the intensive care unit until she died on Friday.

Immigrant rights activists are blaming the late 33-year-old woman’s death on ICE.

“Roxy died due to medical negligence by US immigration authorities,” immigrant advocacy group Pueblo Sin Fronteras said in a statement. “Why incarcerate and torture her like this? She had a home waiting for her in the United States. They could have let her go there. If they had, she would still be with us.”

As soon as Hernandez, who encountered several instances of violence and threats in Honduras, reached San Ysidro port on May 9, she asked for asylum. Instead, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which helped organize the caravan, alleges that she was detained by US Customs and Border Protection and placed in holding cells that have been nicknamed “iceboxes” because of how cold they are. While there, the woman, frozen, was also given inadequate food and medical care, the group says. On May 16, she was transferred to a transgender unit in Milan, New Mexico, and was hospitalized the next day.

“Everybody’s human rights are violated. From the moment they enter there are no guarantees,” Irving Mondragón, co-founder of the LGBTQ migrant advocacy collective Diversidad sin Fronteras, told BuzzFeed News. “People have said that she was safe because she made it to the US, that the hardest part was over. But it’s not true — the US is an imperial democracy and tyrannical. Asking for asylum can lead to death.”

Hernandez joined more than 1,200 migrants on the caravan out of fear for her life in her homeland. Just four months before taking the trek north, she was violated by members of MS-13, who yelled, “We don’t want you in this neighborhood, you fucking faggot” before raping her.

“Four of them raped me and as a result I got HIV,” she previously told the news site. “Trans people in my neighborhood are killed and chopped into pieces, then dumped inside potato bags.”

Hernandez was hesitant about coming to the U.S., from which she had previously been deported three times and has family that does not accept her, but made the trip because she believed her life depended on it.

“I didn’t want to come to Mexico — I wanted to stay in Honduras but I couldn’t,” Hernandez said of joining the caravan to the U.S. in Mexico. “They kill trans people in Honduras. I’m scared of that.”

Instead of refuge, however, Hernandez’s life ended, and organizers, like Jennicet Gutiérrez of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, are fighting to ensure that ICE is held accountable.

“She was trying to find safety in the United States and sadly she’s no longer with us. We demand answers and justice for Roxsana,” she said.

Read: In One Week, Border Patrol Agents Kill An Undocumented Migrant, Detain Two U.S. Citizens And Are Accused Of Child Abuse

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

A 9-year-old U.S. citizen was separated from her mother for 36 hours after agents at the border accused her of lying about her citizenship.

Like thousands of students in our country, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina’s daily commute requires her to cross the U.S. border.

The fourth-grade student attends Nicoloff Elementary School in San Ysidro, California and was in a carpool to school from her home in Tijuana when she ran into traffic. Medina, was commuting to school in a car driven by her mother’s friend Michelle Cardena, Cardena’s two children and her own older 14-year-old brother, Oscar. When the long line to get into the U.S. seemed to be jampacked upon their 4 a.m arrival, Cardenas instructed the kids in her car to walk to the border. She assured them that when they reached it, she would call them an Uber to get them the rest of the way to their school.

But Medina and her never made it across the border or to school that day.

According to the New York Times who talked to a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, two Amparo and her brother arrived at one of the San Ysidro port of entry facilities for pedestrians at 10:15 a.m. last Monday.

Upon their arrival, Amparo and her brother presented their U.S. passports to a CBP officer who soon accused her of being someone else. Note: Amparo’s passport image which was taken years before so she did not look exactly like herself. They also accused her brother of smuggling.

A CBP spokesperson has said that Amparo “provided inconsistent information during her inspection, and CBP officers took the 9-year-old into custody to perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship.”

After CBP officers the confirmed that her brother was a U.S. citizen, he was permitted to enter the U.S while his sister stayed behind. It wasn’t until 6:30 pm on Tuesday, that Amparo was confirmed to be a U.S. citizen as well and was released and admitted to the U.S. to her mother.

Speaking to NBC7, Amparo said she was “scared” of her detention and that she was “sad because I didn’t have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself.”

According to Amparo’s mother Thelma Galaxia, her daughter claims that she was told by an officer that she and her brother would be released if she admitted to being her cousin. Galaxia claims that officers also convinced her son Oscar to sign a document that Amparo was his cousin and not his sister.

When Galaxia was alerted that her children had been detained she contacted the Mexican consulate.

After being notified by the consulate that her daughter would be released at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. While the family felt relieved to be grateful to be reunited with their daughter, Galaxia says the separation should never have happened.

Over the weekend, Twitter was swift to express their outrage over the incident.

Some even expressed their dismay of having a similar situation happen to them.

Many are using the incident as an example of the racial issues plaguing so many U.S. citizens like Amparo.

So many of the comments included outside opinions from those who have yet to experience the direct targetting of ICE.

Over all, nearly everyone was quick to point out the saddest aspect of Amparo’s experience.

Read: Preschool Students Are Doing Active Shooter Drills And I Guess This Is The New Normal Now

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America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters

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America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters

America Ferrera has never been a celebrity to stay quiet in the face of injustice, so it’s no surprise that the actress-activist has boldly responded to the Trump administration’s policy requiring migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico.

Last week, the Superstore star led a group of actors, including Gina Rodriguez, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Wilmer Valderrama, Roselyn Sanchez and Kendrick Sampson, across the southern border to a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico.

There, the group learned how the policy was impacting migrants while speaking directly with immigration lawyers and shelter managers as well as families and children. They hope through this real-life education that they will become better equipped to challenge the Trump administration in the US.

“It is easy for me to look at these human beings and see myself. … This could very easily have been my reality in this lifetime,” the Honduran-American actress told the Associated Press about the trip.

The “Remain in Mexico” policy limits the amount of asylum requests border patrol can attend to per day. The process, which has also forced refugees, including thousands of Central American families who have filed for sanctuary from violence and poverty in their home countries, to stay in Mexico, has slowed down the process and created case backlogs in the immigration system and overcrowding in shelters in Mexican border towns.

“We were able to bear witness to how the current administration is treating refugee families. We MUST demand better,” Washington said in an Instagram post. “Let me be clear: it is legal to seek asylum. When people cross our borders, their human rights come with them. We must protect those human rights.”

@kerrywashington / Instagram

According to NBC News, the visit was organized by nonprofits Families Belong Together and Harness, an organization started by Ferrera, Valderrama and Ryans Piers.

Jessica Morales Rocketto, who heads Families Belong Together, told the news outlet that one of the women she met at the shelter had been waiting with her toddler since November to apply for asylum.

“People get to the border and think that’s the end of the journey, but it’s only the beginning,” Morales Rocketto said.

Read: 20 Major Immigration Facts the American Public Refuses to Hear

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