Cities are struggling to accommodate migrants
WASHINGTON — An eight-year-old immigrant girl died Wednesday in federal U.S. custody after crossing the southern border with her family, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.
The immigrant girl died after experiencing a “medical emergency” inside the US Border Patrol station in Harlingen, Texas, where she was being held with family members, CBP said in a statement Wednesday. The girl was pronounced dead at a local hospital, the agency added.
In its statement, CBP said the agency is investigating the death, and that it plans to release “additional information” later. Congress officials were also informed of the death on Wednesday.
“Consistent with CBP protocol, the Office of Professional Responsibility is conducting an investigation into the incident,” the agency said. “The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the Harlingen Police Department were also notified.”
The girl’s death marks the first known death of an immigrant child in Border Patrol custody since the Trump administration, when several minors died from flu infections.
Last week, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials disclosed death A 17-year-old immigrant teenager from Honduras was being held in a shelter by the Department of Unaccompanied Minors in Florida. HHS is also investigating the death, which officials said may have stemmed from a seizure.
US border officials transfer immigrant children to HHS if they cross the southern border without a parent or legal guardian. In March, a four-year-old Honduran girl described as “medically fragile” was in HHS custody, but her death was not reported until last week.
At least six immigrant children died in federal custody in 2018 and 2019, most of them in Border Patrol custody or soon after being released by the agency.
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