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CBP Takes 7-Year-Old Into Custody. She Had Only Hours

Seems she hadn't eaten or drunk water for days
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2019 11:00 AM CST
A Customs and Border Patrol officer guards the entrance to the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, Wednesday, June 26, 2019.   (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

(Newser) – A 7-year-old migrant girl died after the Border Patrol took her into custody last week—which is likely to increase scrutiny of CBP facilities as families pour over the southwest border in record numbers, the Washington Post reports. The girl, still unidentified, was apprehended with her father and 161 others seeking refuge south of Lordsburg, New Mexico, on Dec. 6. She began convulsing with seizures within 8 hours, was taken to an El Paso hospital, went into cardiac arrest, and died less than 24 hours later. The CBP said the Guatemalan had "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days" and had a body temperature of 105.7 degrees.

A CBP spokesman offered "sincerest condolences" and said "Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances," but the ACLU of Texas struck a critical tone, excoriating the CBP's "lack of accountability" and "culture of cruelty" regarding migrant deaths. "The fact that it took a week for this to come to light shows the need for transparency for CBP," it said. Meanwhile, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Tuesday that agency holding cells are "incompatible" with the current rush of family units across the border, adding that CBP stations "were built decades ago to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families and children." (Video of another migrant teen's last hours raised questions.)

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