A Second Migrant Woman Has Died in U.S. Custody

[Content Note: Nativism; death.]

There is a lot about Donald Trump and his filthy administration in the news this morning: Donald Trump insulting Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and London Mayor Sadiq Khan ahead of his state trip to the UK; Jared Kushner's soft spot for the murderous Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo playing down expectations (which shouldn't even exist) of Trump's promised "deal of the century" for Middle East peace; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's breathtaking corruption; and Trump's threat to levy tariffs on Australia, just for a start.

All of it is terrible. And there are plenty of places where those items will be covered in detail. The story I want to talk about this morning is this one: One year after Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez died in U.S. custody, a second transgender woman has died in U.S. custody at the southern border.

Robert Moore at the Washington Post reports:
A transgender woman from El Salvador died after falling ill at a private Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in New Mexico, officials said Sunday, drawing new scrutiny to a facility that has faced allegations of mistreatment of gay and transgender detainees.

Johana Medina Leon, 25, died on Saturday at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, ICE officials said. She had been taken to the hospital complaining of chest pains on Tuesday at the Otero County Processing Center. Earlier that day, she had requested an HIV test, which came back positive, officials said.

...In March, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sent a letter to ICE and the Department of Homeland Security complaining about the treatment of gay and transgender detainees at the Otero County Processing Center, the southern New Mexico facility where Leon was held.

"ICE's practices at Otero have created an unsafe environment for transgender women and gay men who are detained there," the letter said. One of the complaints in the letter was that requests for medical care often didn't get responses for days or weeks.
Leon was in custody for one month and one week, according to ICE officials, who say she was taken into custody "after presenting herself April 11 at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry in El Paso. On May 18, she passed an interview to determine whether she had a credible fear of persecution if returned to El Salvador. She was paroled from custody the day she went to the hospital, ICE officials said."

If that sounds familiar, perhaps it's because the still-unidentified 2-year-old boy who died in U.S. custody was also released from custody immediately before he died.

As I noted at the time: "It certainly appears that CBP quickly processed the family out of the system in order to avoid mandated reporting if the child died. Which he did. And now we must wonder how many other families are expedited out of detention because they have sick children for whom CBP doesn't want to be accountable, despite repeated reports of squalid conditions that may facilitate the spread of disease among detainees, a situation in which children are particularly vulnerable."

As are people with compromised immune systems, like people with HIV, which includes both Johana Medina Leon and Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez.

Two women and six children have now died in U.S. custody that we know of. More will die if the Trump Regime is not disempowered. That is a certainty.

Impeach him now. Lives literally depend on it.

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