A Migrant Child Died In Custody Last Year & It Wasn’t Disclosed Until Now
The tragic news of another migrant child's death in U.S. custody emerged on Wednesday. As CBS News reported, a migrant child in U.S. custody had died last year — but her death was only now disclosed. The revelation of the girl's death means that a total of six migrant children have died while in custody or shortly after their release, the outlet noted.
CBS first broke the news of the 10-year-old Salvadoran girl's death. The outlet revealed that Mark Weber, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), confirmed that the girl had died in September and said that she had a history of heart problems. Weber told CBS that the girl first entered the United States on March 4, 2018 and, at some point, subsequently underwent surgery for her heart condition.
The outlet noted that this surgery left the girl comatose and she died on Sept. 29 at the Children's Hospital of Omaha from respiratory distress and fever. Bustle has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment on the girl's death.
Various migrant advocacy organizations have condemned the news of another migrant child's death — the sixth in the past eight months, as BuzzFeed News indicated. Families Belong Together, a coalition of advocacy groups working to push back against the Trump administration's immigration policies, emphasized in a statement sent to Bustle that these deaths are completely unacceptable.
Jess Morales Rocketto, the chair of Families Belong Together, said in a statement: "It is unacceptable that the nation is hearing about this tragedy for the first time eight months after her death and it raises serious questions about how many other migrant children’s deaths the Trump administration either doesn't know about, doesn't care about, or is sweeping under the rug."
Erika Andiola, the chief advocacy officer at RAICES, an immigration legal services nonprofit based in Texas, tells Bustle in a statement that the deaths of these migrant children are a "direct result" of the administration's "anti-immigration tactics."
"This girl's death, in September last year, was the first of a child under federal custody since 2010. In the last eight months, six kids have died. This is completely unacceptable, a betrayal of our commitment to asylum-seekers everywhere. No child should die under our care," Andiola says. "We demand an immediate investigation into the practices of Customs and Border Protection that have led to these deaths."
Members of Congress have similarly condemned news of the girl's death and vowed to take action. Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said to CBS News that he plans to make "immediate inquiries" to HHS to find out more information about the matter. The congressman also noted to the outlet that he believes that the Justice Department needs to launch an investigation to examine the six migrant children's deaths.
Following the revelation of the 10-year-old Salvadoran girl's death, it's clear that many believe that urgent action needs to be taken to further examine why multiple migrant children have died after coming to the United States. Time will tell how the Trump administration will address this matter and whether or not Congress will take related action.
This article was updated on May 23.