The United States Border Patrol is again being blamed for the death of a migrant youngster.
And again they did everything they could to save the child.
But when they went back to administer more care, the child’s dad declined it, The Washington Post reported.
In its new timeline, issued at 12:37 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, CBP said the boy was apprehended with his father about 1 p.m. on Dec. 18, a little more than three miles west of the Paseo Del Norte port of entry. The agency said they were brought to the Paseo Del Norte processing center a little after 4:30 p.m., where they were given hot food, snacks, juice and water. Agents checked on their welfare six times, CBP said.
On Thursday, they were taken to the El Paso Border Patrol station, where they were held for two days and provided food, water and showers, CBP said. Agents checked on their welfare 17 times, the agency said. Shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, they were taken to the Alamogordo Border Patrol station to “finalize processing,” CBP said.
The boy began to show signs of illness Monday morning and was taken to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, N.M. He was tested for strep throat but prepared for release with a diagnosis of a common cold and given Tylenol.
But when caregivers noticed a fever of 103 degrees, he was held for more observation before being released with a prescription for an antibiotic and Ibuprofen.
The boy and his father were taken to a holding facility at the Highway 70 checkpoint, and the child was given the medications about 5 p.m. About 7 p.m., the boy vomited. His father declined further medical assistance, CBP said.
He became lethargic about 10 p.m. and was taken back to the hospital. On the way, he began to vomit again and lost consciousness. Doctors were unable to revive him at the hospital, and he was declared dead at 12 minutes to midnight. The cause of death is not known. An autopsy is planned.
“This is a tragic loss. On behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, our deepest sympathies go out to the family,” McAleenan said.
The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry called for an investigation “in accordance with due process.”
An investigation into CBP actions will be conducted by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the CBP news release said. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general and Congress have been notified, it said.
The Guatemalan government was notified, and the father has met with consular officials at the Alamogordo station, CBP said. He also has spoken with his wife in Guatemala, the agency said.
The hospital said in a statement that “privacy regulations prevent us from sharing information about any individual patient. . . . Our thoughts and prayers are with this family during this very difficult time.”
Under guidelines established after the government waited several days to inform Congress about Jakelin Caal’s death, CBP agreed to notify lawmakers within 24 hours of a death of anyone in its custody and issue a media statement an hour after that. Notifications also must be issued to nongovernmental organizations that work with migrants and others.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security appropriations subcommittee, said in an interview that “the reality is that a detention center is no place for a child, particularly a sick child. When that child was determined to be ill, had a 103-degree fever, why they would send that child back to a detention center, which is really not fit for even a well child?
“That’s something that we’re looking into, because that policy or whatever caused them to send that child back has to be changed.”