Victoria’s Family Speaks Out On Their Loss and Demands Answers

Los Angeles, CA –Victoria’s family will hold a candlelight vigil in memory of Victoria Arellano, a Latina transgender woman who was living with HIV and died after being denied basic medical attention at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in San Pedro, California. Medical attention to Victoria came too late and only after her cellmates organized a protest to demand medical attention.

“Sadly, Victoria Arellano’s death is not the only one. In the past three weeks, other immigrants have died in either federal or local immigration custody, including a pregnant woman in El Paso and a Rhode Island man whose sister’s request to deliver him prescribed medication was rejected,” said MALDEF President and General Counsel John TrasviƱa. “The federal government must enforce basic standards for detention and Congress must use its oversight authority to make sure the Department of Homeland Security does so.”

We request that the House Judiciary Committee, Immigration Subcommittee conduct an oversight hearing into the circumstances of Victoria’s death, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) detention standards and procedures regarding the policies for the treatment of LGBT detainees and for the medical care for all detainees.

"Victoria's death is a human rights violation. Today people living with HIV/AIDS can live a long and healthy life as long as they are taking their medication in a consistent manner. This beautiful young woman, of only 23 years of age, was allowed to die in such an unjust manner simply because the authorities in charge failed to provide her with basic medical attention." said Oscar De La O, President of BIENESTAR.

WHO: The Arellano Family
WHAT: Candlelight Vigil
WHEN: Monday, August 27, 2007
6pm – 9pm
WHERE: Federal Building - Downtown Los Angeles
300 N. Los Angeles Street

Victoria’s family will make a statement to the press and community present. The candlelight vigil will be held in both English and Spanish. A community altar in memory of Victoria will commemorate her life as daughter, sister, friend and community activist.

BIENESTAR is the largest Latino community-based organization in the United States committed to meeting the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. BIENESTAR enhances the health and well-being of Latinos through community education, prevention, mobilization, advocacy, and the provision of direct social services. For more information visit

Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through litigation, advocacy, community education and outreach, leadership development, and higher education scholarships. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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