Video surveillance footage of transgender woman and asylum seeker Roxsana Hernandez might have been deleted during an investigation into her death while at an ICE facility, according to CNN.
The attorney representing Hernandez said that the video could have been key pieces of evidence leading up to her death, but the New Mexico ICE facility claimed that camera footage automatically gets overwritten. Roxsana came to the US in a group of transgender migrants in 2018 and did not receive medical attention while in ICE custody, despite being HIV positive and needing necessary medication.
ICE officials said that Hernandez was not in custody long enough for anyone to assess her situation and begin the appropriate treatment. Andrew Free, an attorney for the Transgender Law Center asked in an email for video surveillance inside Cibola County Correctional Center, the privately-operated ICE facility that Hernandez stayed in for less than a day before she was hospitalized. The email, sent approximately three months after Hernandez left the facility, was met with negative, as the ICE officials who responded to the email said “The requested video is no longer available. The footage is held in memory up to around 90 days. They attempted to locate and was negative.”
Attorneys who represent Hernandez’s family filed a notice of wrongful death claim, as well as a suit against CoreCivic, the company that runs the Cibola facility, asking a judge to force the company to release their video footage. Free said in a statement that “they were on notice to preserve any and all video surveillance and it seems they may have failed to do so.” Because of this, he believes that the facility may be withholding more evidence, which, if true is a travesty, as he said: “The public has the right to know what happened to people who die in the custody of the US government.”
To make matters worse, ICE said that Hernandez received the proper medical care, despite a Transgender Law Center report revealing that she was not given the HIV medication that she clearly needed, as even the people with whom she was detained with pleaded for her to receive the medical care necessary for her health and survival. A report by the deputy medical director for the ICE Health Service Corps revealed why she did not receive any medical care: because she had significant medical issues due to being constantly transported between different facilities without getting any care, which points to the idea that people don’t see migrants and asylum seekers as actual people, but things just to be transported.
It’s truly tragic that Hernandez no doubt suffered from complications due to being HIV positive and not receiving any care because she was not in one facility long enough for a professional to do an evaluation that may have saved her life. And do you agree that they’re purposely withholding evidence? Feel free to discuss in the comments.