7-year-old girl dies in custody of U.S. Border Patrol
15 Dec 2018, 00:21 ( 3 Months ago)
A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border died hours after being taken into custody with her father by U.S. Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed on Thursday.
The department said in a statement that the girl "began having seizures" and was found to have a fever of 41 degrees Celsius about eight hours after being taken into custody. She had crossed illegally into the United States together with a group of migrants in a remote New Mexico desert area last week.
The Washington Post first reported on Thursday that the girl died of dehydration and septic shock last week after she was airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, Texas.
Medics revived the girl after she went into cardiac arrest, but she could not recover and eventually died less than 24 hours later.
"Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child's life," the DHS said. "Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and the child."
The names of the girl and her father have not been released and it is still unknown what happened to her during the eight hours before she was found to have seizures.
The child "reportedly had not eaten or consumer water for several days," the Washington Post quoted a U.S. Customs and Border Protection statement as saying.
The death of the girl comes as the Washington administration attempts to ban people who crossed the border illegally from asking for asylum.
Harsh treatment of the migrants attempting to cross into the United States illegally, sometimes with tear gas used, have sparked an outcry both in the United States and internationally, while the White House has insisted on the policy of "America first" in handling the issue.
"I am deeply saddened by this girl's death. There must be a complete investigation and the results shared with Congress and the public," Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic congressman from Texas tweeted on Thursday.