Third Guatemalan Minor Dies In U.S. Custody Reigniting Safety Concerns At Over-Taxed Detention Facilities
Homeland Security Department officials have emphasized in recent months that the surge in Central American families seeking asylum has pushed their facilities beyond capacity and exhausted resources. The high-profile deaths shine a light on those dangers.
The New York Times:
Guatemalan Boy Dies In U.S. Custody After Illness, Officials Say
A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who was placed in a Texas shelter for migrant children and teenagers after entering the United States has died in federal custody, officials said on Wednesday. The boy, who died on Tuesday, was considered an unaccompanied minor who had entered the United States. Officials refused to comment on how long he had been in the country, where his parents were or whether he entered illegally. But his death is sure to highlight the risks for the surge of Central American families who have crossed the southwestern border in recent months, overwhelming federal facilities and resources. (Kanno-Youngs, 5/1)
Teenage Guatemalan Migrant Dies In Texas While In U.S. Custody
He entered the United States near the border city of El Paso, Texas and was detained by U.S. border patrol agents on April 19, according to a statement from Guatemala's foreign ministry. The boy was then sent to a shelter nearly 700 miles away in Brownsville, the statement added, where he was "beginning the process of family reunification." (5/1)
Immigrant Teen Dies While In Federal Custody In South Texas
Evelyn Stauffer, a spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, said the teenager showed no signs of illness after first arriving to the shelter but then developed fever, chills and a headache. Shelter personnel took the teen to a hospital emergency room, which treated and released him back to the shelter later that day. “The minor’s health did not improve after being transferred back to the shelter so on the morning of April 22, 2019 the minor was taken to another hospital emergency department via ambulance," Stauffer said in a written statement. "Later that day the minor was transferred to a children’s hospital in Texas and was treated for several days in the hospital’s intensive care unit.” (Aguilar, 5/1)
In other news on immigration —
The Washington Post:
Trump Says The Border Crisis Is About Criminals And Gangs. His Administration Says It Is About Families And Children.
Faced with rising numbers of migrants at the southern border, President Trump has regaled supporters with increasingly apocalyptic warnings of an “invasion” populated by criminals with face tattoos who look fearsome enough to be “fighting for the UFC.”... But on Wednesday, in an emergency plea to Congress for $4.5 billion, his administration described the migrants as vulnerable families and children whose dire situation requires the resources “to sustain critical and lifesaving missions.” “Immediate emergency action is required . . . to safely, securely, and humanely process and care for this at-risk migrant population,” Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in the emergency request to lawmakers. (Nakamura, 5/1)
Homestead Migrant Shelter Operator Gets Big No-Bid Deal
The Homestead shelter for unaccompanied migrant children has been shrouded in secrecy and cloaked in controversy from the moment it was reactivated in February 2018. Lawmakers scornful of President Trump’s immigration policies have been blocked from visiting. Because it sits on federal land, Florida’s child welfare agency is barred from investigating allegations of abuse. Rather than close it, as activists have demanded, the feds just gave the operator, Comprehensive Health Services, a brand new contract — one worth $341 million. (Madan, 5/1)