A seven-year-old girl who migrated from Guatemala to the U.S. died of dehydration, fever, and infection after she was taken into custody by the Border Patrol last week, the Washington Post reports. She was with a large group of migrants, including her father, who crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.
Customs and Border Control records indicate that she and her father were taken into custody at 10 pm on December 6th near Lordsburg, NM. They were part of a group of 163 migrants who turned themselves in to authorities.
From the Post:
More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”
After a helicopter flight to Providence Hospital in El Paso, the child went into cardiac arrest and “was revived,” according to the agency. “However, the child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported,” CBP said.
CBP did not release the girl’s name. Her father is in El Paso, waiting to meet with Guatemalan consular authorities. The agency says they are investigating the incident to see if policies were followed.
It’s unclear whether the girl received food and water upon being detained by Border Patrol, as migrants usually do.
CBP responded to the Post’s inquiry with a statement:
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child,” CBP spokesman Andrew Meehan said in a statement to The Washington Post.
“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances,” Meehan said. “As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.”
This girl and her father were not part of the so-called “migrant caravan” who have attempted to cross into the U.S. along the border near Tijuana.
The number of migrants crossing as families have risen sharply this year, according to the Post:
In November, Border Patrol agents apprehended a record 25,172 “family unit members” on the Southwest border — including 11,489 in the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector in southern Texas and 6,434 in the El Paso sector, which covers far western Texas and New Mexico.
Migrants traveling as part of a family group accounted for 58 percent of those taken into custody last month by the Border Patrol.
CBP says there will be an autopsy, but the report won’t be available for several weeks. Providence Hospital in El Paso attributed the death to septic shock, fever, and dehydration.
“Due to patient confidentiality, the hospital is unable to provide any patient information and is referring any inquiries regarding this patient to CBP,” Providence spokeswoman Marina Monsisvais told the Post.