STATEMENT: Death of Transgender Immigrant Highlights Need for Detention Reforms

Washington, D.C. — After an independent autopsy revealed that Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a transgender asylum seeker, died in U.S. custody following physical abuse and reports of insufficient medical care, Sharita Gruberg, associate director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

This tragic death is the latest example of LGBTQ immigrants being held in unsafe conditions, provided with substandard medical care, and exposed to a staggeringly high risk of violence by the Department of Homeland Security. We know from government data that LGBTQ immigrants held in immigration detention centers are 97 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other detainees, and transgender women are routinely subjected to prolonged detention and held in solitary confinement. There is simply no excuse for the government’s failure to provide adequate medical care to Roxsana. DHS has known about the extreme abuse LGBTQ immigrants are subjected to in its custody for years. The Trump administration must immediately work to make sure detainees have adequate medical treatment and end its practice of arbitrarily detaining LGBTQ people in dangerous conditions.

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For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6327.