Immigrant advocates and elected officials rallied at Foley Square on Wednesday afternoon, demanding justice for two women who died after encounters with Border Patrol and ICE agents.
Claudia Patricia Gómez González, 19 and from Guatemala, was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent on May 23 in Texas. Roxsana Hernandez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from Honduras, died at an ICE detention center on Friday.
“Her (Gonzalez) only crime was to have a better life for her and her family,” said Blanca Saavedra of Make the Road by Walking, which helped organize the rally with the Center for Popular Democracy. “This is a hard time for immigrants. This is a time when the president calls us criminals and animals.”
Border Patrol officials said Gonzalez was with a group of people who had entered the country illegally and that some of them had attacked the officer.
The crowd on Wednesday chanted “Claudia” and “Roxsana.” Advocates said Gonzalez was hoping to find work to pay for her education while Hernandez was fleeing discrimination.
Several speakers, which included City Council members Francisco Moya, Carlos Menchaca and Jumaane Williams, said members of Congress have to demand more accountability from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“We have to force Congress to stop giving millions of dollars to Border Patrol and to ICE,” said Ana Maria Achila of the Center for Popular Democracy. “The brutality of those agencies has been unleashed by this administration.”