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Secretary of Homeland Security responds to death of 8-year-old Guatemalan child who was in U.S. custody


This news story was published on December 26, 2018.
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Nielsen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A second immigrant child died while in the custody of U.S. border police, and a top Trump Administration official responded to the “tragedy” with “a series of additional actions.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen today released the following statement on the eight year-old Guatemalan national who passed away shortly before midnight on December 24 at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico:

“In the evening hours of December 24th, a child who had been apprehended with his father by the Border Patrol attempting to illegally enter the United States, died at an El Paso hospital after being taken for emergency treatment for the second time in less than 12 hours. This tragedy, the death of a child in government custody is deeply concerning and heartbreaking. In the last 24 hours, I have a directed a series of additional actions to care for those who enter our custody.

“In recent months, we have seen a dramatic increase at the border of families and unaccompanied children crossing our border illegally. In the last two months alone, the Border Patrol has apprehended 139,817 illegal aliens on the Southwest Border as compared to 74,946 during the same time frame of FY 2018. This is an increase of 86%. In just two months into this fiscal year we have seen 68,510 family units and 13,981 unaccompanied children. This is a dramatic change from historical trends and has only become starker in December.

“This changing dynamic is the direct result of obvious draw factors: an immigration system that rewards parents for sending their children across the border alone, a system that prevents parents who bring their children on a dangerous and illegal journey from facing consequences for their actions, an asylum process that is not able to quickly help those who qualify for asylum, a system that encourages fraudulent claims, and a system that encourages bad actors to coach aliens into making frivolous claims. The bottom line is that 9 out 10 asylum claims are rejected by a federal immigration judge.

“Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders. Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north. This crisis is exacerbated by the increase in persons who are entering our custody suffering from severe respiratory illnesses or exhibit some other illness upon apprehension. Given the remote locations of their illegal crossing and the lack of resources, it is even more difficult for our personnel to be first responders.

“We at DHS are committed to continuing to assist those in need – in the past year alone the Border Patrol assisted more than 4,300 people in distress along the border – that’s a 20 percent increase in rescues from the year before.

“To put this in perspective, there were six migrant deaths while in CBP custody during FY 2018 – none whom were children. In fact, it has been more than a decade since CBP has had a child pass away in their custody. It is now clear that migrants, particularly children, are increasingly facing medical challenges and harboring illness caused by their long and dangerous journey.

“In response to the unprecedented surge of children into our custody, I have directed a series of extraordinary protective measures. I have personally engaged with the Centers for Disease Control to request that their experts investigate the uptick in sick children crossing our borders and identify additional steps hospitals along the border should be undertaking to prepare for and to treat these children. I have asked the US Coast Guard Medical Corps to provide an assessment of CBP’s medical programs and make appropriate recommendations for improvements. I have also asked for assistance from the Department of Defense to provide additional medical professionals.

“At my direction, all children in Border Patrol custody have been given a thorough medical screening. Moving forward, all children will receive a more thorough hands on assessment at the earliest possible time post apprehension – whether or not the accompanying adult has asked for one.

“I have also spoken with our partners in Mexico to ask that they begin to investigate the causes of these illnesses on their side of the border and to provide medical assistance in shelters as needed.

“I will be travelling to the border later this week to see first-hand the medical screenings and conditions at Border Patrol stations.

“These immediate steps described above are in addition to steps taken following the death of a Guatemalan child earlier in the month – to include the staffing of additional Emergency Management trained Border Patrol agents in remote areas. There are 1,500 medically trained agents and officers on duty across the border.

“As a result of bad judicial rulings from activist judges and inaction by Congress, we are seeing a flood of family units and unaccompanied alien children. The unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children at the border must not be ignored. I once again ask – beg – parents to not place their children at risk by taking a dangerous journey north. Vulnerable populations – including family units and unaccompanied alien children should seek asylum at the first possible opportunity, including Mexico.

“To be clear, Border Patrol stations were never intended to be longer-term holding facilities for any individuals. Under current law, non-Mexican unaccompanied children cannot be released or removed from the U.S. – they must be turned over to Health and Human Services for placement pending bed space availability. Moreover, family units are almost always released into the interior – in any case, they cannot be held past 21 days.

“I am proud of the lifesaving work the men and women of the Border Patrol do every day, but we do not currently have the resources we need to execute the mission as directed by Congress. To those in Congress who continue to refuse to take action to address the loopholes that cause a flood of humanity to travel north and place children at risk, I once again call on you to do your job, protect vulnerable populations, secure our borders, and provide the men and women of DHS the authorities and resources we need to address this crisis. Please put politics aside, we have common cause – let’s work together to protect family units and unaccompanied alien children. It’s a mission we share.”

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21 Responses to Secretary of Homeland Security responds to death of 8-year-old Guatemalan child who was in U.S. custody

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 29, 2018 at 7:58 am

    How about they worry about American children that are mistreated, abused, homeless, and hungry?? I feel for the 2 children that died, but if their parents didn’t put them in a dangerous situation their deaths may not have occurred. I’m sure these children were already ill by the time border patrol got involved!!

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 28, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Hey paco liberals democrats ! I just heard you have just formed another 15,000 voter base of illegal democrats that are NOW heading for the border ! Good job you communists.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 28, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I hope the liberal government is shut down until 2021 and the wall is being built to protect OUR country.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    He died because his parents dragged him over a perilous journey to illegally enter a country in which they know they would be turned away, YET they continued the journey because they want the benefits they feel they’re entitled to without having to lift a lazy finger to earn it. They caused their own child’s death! End of story! Nobody put a gun to their heads to force them to bypass so many safe sanctuaries along the way until they reach the one country with the most benefits. Why didn’t they accept Mexico’s generous offer of asylum, housing, and jobs? Because they don’t want to work for the money. A job means actually having to work and they’re just too damn lazy.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      How do you know he was brought by his parents? There have been instances where kids have been abducted by lone migrants and forced to pose as their family, only to be trafficked once released in the US.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      correct!!!!!
      And if anyone in the USA would attempt to put a child through anything done by these “people” they would be locked up for child endangerment

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 27, 2018 at 11:18 am

    All those words to say its not our fault. But, it is.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      And you know that how?

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      If by “us”, you mean you libtards who passed laws giving a carte blanche to any trafficker showing up with a kid claiming it’s his, then you are correct.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      You are right and it didn’t need to happen. If they get in line, like they should and not jump ahead of those that did get in line, this would not have happened. We are a country of laws and those that don’t think they have to abide by these laws, well….things happen.

    • Avatar

      ‘Nonymus Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      If you mean it’s our fault for allowing a run on our border, you’re right. Encouraging this behavior is wrong! But it is the fathers fault for dragging his kid along on this dog and pony show!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      Bullshit.

  6. Avatar

    Allen Reply Report comment

    December 27, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Imagine what this is costing the American tax payer. Would the wall be cheaper? Who do we blame for the deaths of our children from the poison that comes from south of the border.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

    That man needs to be charged with child endangerment, negligent homicide and, unless DNA tests confirm that he is in fact the father, kidnapping.

    Feel-good liberals need to be shunned for passing laws causing hundreds of thousands of migrants to game the system by forcing children – their own or someone else’s – to travel with them through a hostile, lawless and extremely dangerous land just to increase their own chances in the Land Of Honey and Milk.

  8. Avatar

    Allen Reply Report comment

    December 27, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Just think of the money this is costing American tax payers. Would the wall be cheaper? And who do we blame for the deaths of our children because of the poison that comes from south of the border.

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 26, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    If only these people were white…

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 11:41 am

      They are white you idiot. Their race is white, not ethnicity

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Then what?

  10. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 26, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    All those words just to say “Shit happens. Not our fault.” She must have graduated from Trump U.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      But, she’s right, it’s not our fault!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      December 28, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      I suspect Maxine Waters is a professor at your school.