Transgender migrant who died in ICE custody was abused, not given medical attention, lawsuit says

Posted at 4:26 PM, Nov 26, 2018

SAN DIEGO — A lawsuit was announced Monday over the death of Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender woman who died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody earlier this year as she sought asylum at the border.

Hernandez arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro in May from her native Honduras, but Transgender Law Center Director Lynly Egyes said Hernandez “came to the U.S. seeking protection and instead was met with torture.”

"An independent autopsy report reveals that Roxsana was shackled for a long time and very tightly, enough to cause deep bruising on her wrists. She also had deep bruising Injuries consistent with physical abuse with a baton or asp while she was handcuffed, according to an examination of the tissue by an independent expert board-certified forensic pathologist," Egyes said.

According to attorneys, Hernandez died from dehydration after being denied water and medical care.

Hernandez, who was HIV positive, became very ill as she was transferred from California to Texas, back to California, and then to New Mexico, where she died.

Hernandez’s family is hoping the wrongful death lawsuit will provide answers as to what happened. The suit was filed against the state of New Mexico.

With many LGBTQ migrants arriving in Tijuana to seek asylum, many advocates hope the lawsuit announcement serves as a reminder that they will be watching as LGBTQ migrants present themselves at various ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Her death was entirely preventable," Egyes said.