Fifth migrant child dies in US Border Patrol custody since December

Border Patrol agents providing food and drinks to migrants in an El Paso migrant family processing center

U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Getty Images

Bowen, a 10-year Border Patrol veteran is accused of running over a 23-year-old Guatemalan migrant with his patrol vehicle before arresting him on December 3, 2017.

If the text messages are admitted, Bowen's attorney, Sean Chapman, said he would try to show "the use of these terms is commonplace throughout the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, that it is part of the agency's culture and therefore says nothing about Mr. Bowen's mindset", according to court papers.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the teen, who was detained in south Texas's Rio Grande Valley on May 13 after crossing the border, was found unresponsive at the agency's Weslaco Station during a welfare check.

He was due to be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the care of minor migrant children who cross into the United States without adult family members, the official said.

The cause of death has yet to be determined, according to Customs and Border Patrol.

"He was assessed and determined to have influenza A", the official said. He told medical staff he wasn't feeling well on Sunday, and was prescribed medicine after getting diagnosed with the flu. To date, CBP officials said, the agency has released 40,000 family unit members with orders to appear in immigration court; ICE has released approximately 180,000 family unit members since December 21.

According to the USA and Guatemalan authorities, the small child died after several weeks in the hospital.

TOPSHOT - Central American migrants are detained by US Customs and Border Patrol agents at the border wall in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on May 7, 2019. "CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody", said CBP Acting Commissioner John Sanders.

Last week, a 2-year-old boy from Guatemala died at a hospital in El Paso, Texas.

More than 114,000 people from Guatemala have been apprehended by the Border Patrol between October and April.

On April 30, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died after officials at an HHS detention facility noticed that he was sick.

Yuma Sector officials reported a 293 percent increase in the number of family units crossing the border in this remote region. The cause of his death hasn't been reported, though a source close to the situation said at the time that he showed signs of distress the day after he arrived at Casa Padre, a former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas. He was hospitalized in intensive care for several days before his death. He was then transferred to a crowded central processing center in the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest transit route for migrants along the border. It also recently opened a 500-person tent near one port of entry and announced plans to open another.

However, the deaths also come as migrant family units and unaccompanied alien children (UACs) are descending on the southern border in record numbers.

"It is risky and cruel to detain people, particularly children, in crowded and unsanitary conditions for seeking protection", the organization said.

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