Transgender asylum seeker dies in El Paso after release from US custody


EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A transgender asylum seeker has died just days after being released from U.S. immigration detention.

Authorities say 25-year-old Johana Medina Leon of El Salvador died Saturday at an El Paso hospital. The cause of death isn’t known.

Medina Leon sought asylum at a border crossing on April 11 and was detained in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility. An asylum officer determined she had a credible fear of returning to her country, which is one of the first steps in the process.

ICE says Medina Leon was taken to the hospital last Tuesday for chest pain. The agency released her from custody that day.

Advocates say the death is another example of poor care and treatment that transgender detainees get in custody. ICE says it provides comprehensive medical care to all detainees.

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