SF law firm filing lawsuit against immigration officials after transgender woman’s death

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco law firm Dolan Law has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs and the Department of Homeland Security on behalf the family of Yohana Medina Leon.

Leon was the transgender immigrant who died June 1 while she was detained at the border in Texas.

“So the nature of this action is the nature to hold the United States government responsible for the deprivation of Yohana’s civil rights that she was entitled to as a human being,” said lawyer Christopher Dolan.

 Immigration officials allegedly denied Leon’s repeated requests for medical care.

“Johana who was a nurse knew that she was becoming critically ill. She requested treatment from the government — treatment she should have been given,” the attorney said. “The government failed to provide her with treatment. She became so ill that at one point she asked to be deported.”

 This isn’t the first instance where an immigrant has died in custody at the border.

“We also know that at least six children have either died in ICE custody or recently after being released,” said Lynly Egyes, the director of litigation at the Transgender Law Center. 

They say LGBTQ immigrants seem to be getting the worst treatment of all.

“We know that LGBT people make up less than 2 percent of the population inside detention but experience more than 12 percent of the physical and sexual assaults,” Egyes said.

They also argue that those who seek asylum should not be detained.

“It is cruel and unusual to detain us when we are seeking help,” said Ola Osaze, with the Black LGBTQA Migrant Project. “This is something that no government can justify and so we are also calling an end to really all forms of detention, especially for folks who are super marginalized and super vulnerable.”

They’re not only seeking justice for Leon, but also for everyone in similar situations.

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