Diversidad Sin Fronteras has reported that Johana Medina, a transgender woman from El Salvador, has died in ICE custody in a hospital in El Paso, Texas. Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures, issued the following statement: 

“A few days after marking the anniversary of Roxsana Hernandez’s death, we are devastated and outraged by reports that Johana Medina, a transgender woman and refugee from El Salvador, has died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. 

Devastated and outraged, but not surprised. ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and all the agencies and companies responsible for Roxsana’s death have only grown bolder in their cruelty, inhumanity, and lawlessness. These deaths are a direct result of U.S. government policy, and will continue unless we force dramatic change. 

We are still learning details about Johana and her passing on the first day of Pride month. But we pledge to continue our work with Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project towards justice for all LGBTQ migrants – with a focus on the Black, trans, and HIV positive migrants who are most intensely targeted. Black trans women in particular are frequently punished in detention with solitary confinement, a form of torture. 

On Friday, Transgender Law Center filed suit against ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for illegally withholding information about the death of Roxsana Hernandez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from Honduras who died on May 25, 2018. With the Law Office of R. Andrew Free, we have demanded the release of any and all documents about Roxsana Hernandez while in ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. This filing is the next step in our ongoing legal campaign to hold all parties responsible for Roxsana’s death accountable. 

Justice for Roxsana means justice for Johana. Justice for Johana and Roxsana means an end to the conditions that killed them, conditions that transgender people in migrant prisons across the country continue to endure.  

Today, we mourn Johana, and renew our pledge to seek justice for her, for Roxsana, and for all Black and brown trans women detained in migrant prisons.”