Media Contact

Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or

June 3, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, upon learning that yet another trans migrant has died after prolonged detention in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in New Mexico, the American Civil  Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico renews its demands for an end to the administration’s cruel detention of asylum seekers in inhumane and dangerous conditions. Reports from migrant advocates in El Paso, Texas indicate that Johana Medina, a transgender woman from El Salvador seeking asylum in the United States,  passed away on June 1 at Las Palmas del Sol Hospital in El Paso after two months in New Mexico’s Otero County Detention Center.

Johana’s death comes only weeks after the ACLU of New Mexico sent a letter to ICE demanding investigation into rampant sexual harassment, medical neglect, and retaliation against transgender women and gay men held at Otero County Processing Center.

“Johana’s tragic death underscores the senselessness and cruelty of the current administration’s detention policies for migrants and asylum seekers,” said ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney Attorney Kristin Greer Love. “The continuing drumbeat of migrant deaths in ICE custody is an entirely predictable outcome of our nation’s practice of mass detention in inhumane and inappropriate conditions. We call for an immediate end to the mass detention of migrants who pose no security risk and demand an investigation into the dangerous and dehumanizing conditions we have identified in Otero County and other ICE facilities.”