Migrant Child Dies In Custody of US Customs and Border Protection

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost on May 8 said assaults of her agents were up 20 percent.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the boy had been apprehended May 13 after crossing into the United States near Hidalgo, in the Rio Grande Valley.

The boy, identified as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, had complained of not feeling well on Sunday and was diagnosed by a nurse-practitioner with the flu.

The Tucson Sector of the Border Patrol didn't immediately return a message about the texts, though it noted to the Arizona Daily Star on Sunday that agents are "held to the highest standards, and any action of misconduct within our ranks will not be tolerated". After that he was placed with the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is in charge of unaccompanied or separated migrant children. The statement said the cause of death was not yet known, and that the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog and the Guatemalan government had been notified.

"The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family", John Sanders, CBP's acting commissioner, said.

The CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility will review the incident.

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It marks the third death of a child or teen in the past month after being apprehended at the border. A 2-year-old child died last week after he and his mother were detained by the Border Patrol.

In March, then-CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan warned of an impending humanitarian crisis due to a "stark and increasing shift to more vulnerable populations" combined with inadequate capacity for the USA government to accommodate the increase in families and children crossing the border.

Public release of the text messages come after Bowen, a 10-year veteran of Border Patrol, was indicted in May 2018 on counts of deprivation of rights and falsifying records in a federal investigation.

McAleenan said Customs and Border Protection has about 16,000 illegal immigrants in custody, and is utilizing all resources and options to process them. "This death, which comes days after the administration released a proposal to make it even more hard for people to seek safety in this country, leads us to wonder how many deaths it will take for the administration to ensure the safety and security of children".

Trump administration officials have said they have passed a "breaking point" in the immigration detention system, with the numbers of parents and children crossing the border dramatically exceeding the capacity at facilities. Half of Border Patrol agents' time is now spent babysitting migrants rather than out on patrol, officials testified to Congress.

"There certainly need to be conditions that do not include lying on a mat with a Mylar blanket on a floor that is cold, and cage-like fencing that extends to the ceiling", she said on a conference call with reporters on Monday.

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