ICE Holding Over 100 Transgender People in Detention Facilities

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to the Washington Blade that they are holding 111 "self-identified transgender individuals" in a total of 20 detention facilities across the country. 45 of these are being held at the privately-run South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall, Texas.

Additionally, ICE spokesperson Danielle Bennett confirmed that there are still transgender people at the Cibola County Correctional Center. That facility, located in New Mexico, is a privately-owned minimum-security prison for men, with a majority of the inmates being undocumented. 

The Cibola County Correctional Center also has a unit exclusively for transgender inmates, and is one of the few with a dedicated space for LGBTQ people.

The facility has recently been in the news following the death of a 33-year-old, HIV-positive transgender woman Roxsana Hernández, who was in custody at the facility. 

Hernández was transferred to the Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque after developing severe diarrhea and vomiting at the Cibola County Correctional Center. The Lovelace Medical Center said Hernández died of cardiac arrest. 

An independent autopsy uncovered evidence of physical assault and abuse, including deep bruising on her ribcage, contusions on her back, and injuries to her wrists consistent with handcuffs. It seems likely that Hernández had been beaten with a blunt object, possibly a baton, while restrained. She also showed signs of dehydration. 

Hernández was held at the Cibola County Correctional Center for roughly 12 hours. Prior to this, she had been held at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego, and had already shown signs of ill health while in transport to the Cibola County Correctional Center.

The health of individuals under ICE and Homeland Security custody have long been an issue, though these have become a bigger concern in recent months as the department has ramped up efforts against immigrants from the south. 

Many have pointed the finger at Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen for her leadership over these efforts. Nielsen recently admitted that she doesn't have an idea of how many children have died under her watch.

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