GLAAD calls on media to keep spotlight on most vulnerable immigrants, including transgender asylum seekers

According to news reports in CNN and BuzzFeed, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency within the Trump Administration may have deleted critical surveillance video that would have helped tell the story of the last few days of Roxsána Hernández, a transgender Honduran woman and asylum seeker who died in ICE custody. Roxsána’s attorneys argue that various transfers to different facilities without providing HIV treatment or taking note of her deterioration contributed to her death. Video footage was a vital key that would have helped with the investigation.

“Her need for medical attention was obvious, it was documented, and it was life threatening, and the records we have to date indicate that ICE officials knew those three things and decided to transfer her,” said Andrew Free, an attorney representing the family, to BuzzFeed News. "If DHS cannot be trusted to play by the rules, both before and after a detained migrant's death based on these records, how can DHS be trusted to continue imprisoning migrants at all?"

“The LGBTQ community and other communities demand transparency from government entities that are funded by our tax dollars. We should never punish immigrants seeking safety, including LGBTQ asylum seekers, by housing them in unsafe conditions or keeping critical medical treatment from them,” said Monica Trasandes, Director of Spanish Language and Latinx media Representation for GLAAD. “The media is necessary to bring awareness and accountability when it is lacking from the government.”

This story offers a vivid and heartbreaking account of what Roxsána and other transgender women like her face while fleeing to the United States and away from unsafe living conditions. LGBTQ activists like GLAAD have argued that far too many already vulnerable people are being unnecessarily placed in dangerous situations as they wait for their hearings.