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Victoria Arellano

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Victoria Arellano (1984 – July 20, 2007) was a Mexican immigrant to the United States who died from complications of AIDS while in the custody of the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). While officials from ICE have refused to comment on Arellano's death,[1] advocates for immigrants, AIDS patients, and the LGBT community have decried the lack provision of medical care as unjust and discriminatory.[2]

Arellano, whose given name was Victor, was born in Mexico and came to the United States as a child. Although her natally-assigned sex was male, her gender identity was female. She took the name Victoria as part of her transgendered identity.

After contracting HIV, she was prescribed bactrim, later switching to dapasone. Both medications were daily antibiotics. Three years prior to her being detained, doctors at a Los Angeles free clinic described her as "asymptomatic". Her condition began deteriorating in May 2007, when, after being detected entering the country illegally for the second time, she was detained at a facility in San Pedro, California, she was denied her medication and medical attention.

Arellano was cared for by inmates at the facility, who took turns taking her to the bathroom and brought her cool towels. She was transported to the infirmary on July 13, 2007 and prescribed amoxicillin. She was unable to keep the drugs down and began vomiting blood.

Eighty detainees protested the denial of her treatment, chanting "Hospital" and ignoring an order to get in line for the night's head count. She was transported to a hospital in San Pedro, but was returned to the facility within twenty-four hours. Again, she was debilitated by vomiting and diarrhea, and again transported to the hospital, this time the intensive care unit of Little Company of Mary Hospital in San Pedro. She was handcuffed to her bunk and her door was guarded by two immigration agents. She died on July 20.

Following Arellano's death, her fellow inmates sent her mother $245.


  1. Fears, Darryl. "3 Jailed Immigrants Die in a Month: Medical Mistreatment Alleged; Federal Agency Denies Claims", Washington Post, Washington Post Company, 2007-08-15. Retrieved on 2007-08-20. 
  2. Hernandez, Sandra. "Denied Medication, AIDS Patient Dies in Custody", Daily Journal, 2007-08-09. Retrieved on 2007-08-20. 

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