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Second Transwoman Dies In ICE Custody After Being Denied Medical Attention For HIV Complications

Johana Medina, a transgender asylum seeker from El Salvador, died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on June 1 — the first day of Pride Month — advocates said Sunday.

Johana is the second transgender immigrant to die in ICE custody since President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Medina’s death was first reported by Diversidad Sin Fronteras, an activist group focused on helping LGBTQ migrants and refugees.

Grecia, a trans leader with Casa Migrante in Juarez, Mexico, accompanied Medina on her journey to the United States and stayed with her until the end. In a statement, she described how Medina had continuously asked for medical attention for health complications stemming from HIV/AIDS. She failed to receive proper care for two months until she became unconscious and was eventually transferred to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she passed away Saturday.

"Her name was Johana Medina, known to her friends as Joa. She was in ICE detention for two months in a New Mexico facility. For weeks she pleaded for medical help, referring to health problems caused by complications with HIV/AIDS. After two months of suffering, Joana became extremely ill and unconscious forcing ICE to take her to Las Palmas del Sol Hospital in El Paso, Texas. This morning I went to visit her at the hospital intensive care unit. When I looked at her I said that what happened a year ago to Roxana in the month of May could happen to Joa right in there. And it did. Unfortunately today at 21:00 hrs I got called by the hospital to tell me that she had passed away…"

ICE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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