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Lawmakers Demand Answers On Death Of 7-Year-Old Migrant Child In CBP Custody

on December 15, 2018 - 8:06am
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) wrote to leadership of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Friday demanding an immediate investigation into the tragic death of a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala who died Dec. 8 after being taken into custody with her father by CBP in Lordsburg.
The full text of the letter is available HERE.
“Her death raises significant questions about the leadership at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP’s ability to appropriately respond to the humanitarian crisis happening at our southern borders and the agency’s ability to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future,” the lawmakers wrote.
“We learned through news outlets that the child and her father turned themselves into CBP agents on the night of Dec. 6, 2018, and that the following morning the child fell ill around 5 a.m. and at approximately 6:25 a.m. she began having seizures,” the lawmakers said. “According to CBP, emergency responders measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and she was flown to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas for medical care, where she later passed away. The hospital listed her cause of death as septic shock, fever and dehydration. According to a statement released by CBP, the child ‘reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.’”
“We remain deeply concerned about the Administration’s anti-immigrant enforcement policies against individuals who pose no threat to the nation, as well as the administration’s policies and practices that may be causing asylum seekers to attempt a dangerous journey crossing between the ports of entry,” the lawmakers said.
“Additionally, it is unacceptable that it took more than a week for reports of the child’s death to become public. Congress requires CPB to report the death of any individual in CBP custody within 24 hours including relevant details regarding the circumstances of the fatality,” they wrote.
The lawmakers requested a full investigation into the tragic death of this child, as well as a number of actionable items to ensure accountability and reform, including:
  • a specific timeline of events concerning CBP’s actions in this tragic incident;
  • a meeting with the CBP commissioner;
  • a complete accounting from CBP about what may have informed its response to this situation;
  • a detailed report about wait times for families and children seeking to present at every port of entry;
  • a detailed report of the metering policies at each port of entry;
  • a commitment from CBP to start complying with the report language from the FY18 Appropriations Act, and also follow up in a timely manner with any reporting on investigations related to the deaths in custody; and
  • a detailed report from CBP on its standard of care for all adults and minors who enter their custody.
The full text of the letter is available HERE.