Albuquerque, New Mexico — Immigrant rights organizations, including the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, National Immigrant Justice Center, NM Comunidades en Accion y de Fe (CAFé) and Detention Watch Network are demanding an immediate investigation and public release of the findings of the death of Roxsana Hernandez. Roxsana, 33, died on May 25th after being in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Cibola County Detention Center in New Mexico where she was detained in the transgender unit.
“The death of Roxsana, a young woman, is yet another infuriating tragedy at the hands of ICE,” said Lourdes Ortiz of the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee. “ICE’s pattern of abuse is widespread. At the Cibola facility we regularly see discrimination and medical negligence, and we are aware of several other HIV positive people who are afraid of what their fate may be at the hands of ICE."
Since 2003, 182 people have died in immigrant detention – Roxsana’s passing marks the sixth death to occur in ICE immigrant detention in fiscal year 2018. Recent investigations into deaths in immigration detention, Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention and Systemic Indifference: Dangerous and Substandard Medical Care in US Immigration Detention, have found that inadequate medical care has contributed to numerous deaths.
The tragic death of Roxsana came two days after the highly publicized murder of Claudia Gonzalez, who was shot and killed by US Border Patrol. Customs and Border Protection has already walked back their initial statement regarding Gonzalez’s death, only adding to the evidence that ICE and CBP regularly lie and actively hide information from the public.
“The alarming death toll in CBP and ICE custody underscores that the immigration enforcement system is plagued by egregiously poor conditions, a lack of accountability and a culture of violence that results in system-wide abuses, including death,” said Danny Cendejas, Organizing Director of Detention Watch Network. “We must not only be outraged, but also moved to action to demand that these deadly agencies be held responsible.”
The call to abolish ICE continues to strengthen across the country and in Congress as constituents vow to demand their representatives #DefundHate and stop the death and abuse.
“Tens of thousands are locked away in ICE facilities every day. ICE does everything it can to shield from public view how unsafe and punishing its jails are for all immigrants, especially LGBTQ individuals. But we see what happened to Roxsana. We see how her vibrant life was senselessly cut short. And we know enough is enough; it is time for Congress to stop giving ICE a blank check that they use to jail and punish as many migrants, asylum seekers, and vulnerable members of our communities as they can. It's time to cut funds for immigration detention and enforcement,” said Keren Zwick, Associate Director of Litigation at the National Immigrant Justice Center.
Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee (DMSC) is a local community group that fights for cross border communities free of militarization, criminalization, and mass incarceration by organizing, educating, and acting for more humane policies, practices, and public opinion on migrant detention. DMSC is a member of Detention Watch Network. Follow on Facebook @DetainedMigrantSolidarityCommitteeEPTX or on Twitter @DMSCElPaso
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org
With offices in Chicago, Indiana, and Washington, D.C., the National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. Visit immigrantjustice.org and follow @NIJC.
NM Comunidades en Accion y de Fe (CAFé) is a multifaith, multicultural organization that involves local community members from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Participants have worked for economic, immigrant, and racial justice, and preservation of the beauty of our local environment. NM CAFé is part of the Faith In Action National Network (formerly known as PICO), the largest faith-based community organization in the country.