Independent Autopsy of Transgender Asylum Seeker Who Died in ICE Custody Shows Signs of Abuse


“We take the health and well-being of those entrusted to our care very seriously,” Rodney King, a spokesman for CoreCivic, said in a statement. “We’re also committed to providing a safe environment for transgender detainees.”Ms. Hernandez was seeking asylum from persecution, discrimination and violence, according to Edgar Reyes, 19, who met Ms. Hernandez in Tijuana while they were both in the caravan.“You could see the suffering she was running from on her face,” Mr. Reyes said. “She would share her struggles with all of us. We were always united, we always supported each other, and I understood her because I am a gay man, and Honduran like she was.”According to ICE, Ms. Hernandez illegally crossed the border into the United States twice between 2005 and 2009. In April 2006, she was convicted of theft in Dallas, the agency said. In May 2009, she was convicted of lewd, immoral, indecent conduct and prostitution, also in Dallas, according to ICE. Both times she was deported, Ms. Hernandez was allowed to voluntarily return to Mexico because she claimed Mexican nationality to immigration officials.In January 2014, she entered the United States a third time before being arrested and deported two months later.This time, Ms. Hernandez wanted to settle down, Ms. Bustillo said.“She would tell me she wanted to get married, work a blue-collar job and be a different person this time,” Ms. Bustillo said. “This time around she had a dream.”Ms. Hernandez spoke to friends about wanting to see her brother who lived in Houston.“She would talk about her brother every day,” Ms. Bustillo said. “It is a big deal to be trans and accepted by your family, and he didn’t accept her but he wasn’t going to kick her out of his house. He tolerated her.”