ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- Today, reports released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed that a seven-year-old child from Guatemala died while in CBP custody a week ago after surrendering to agents near Lordsburg, NM. The child, who was accompanied by her father, reportedly suffered from seizures eight hours after she and her father turned themselves into Border Patrol and died less than 24 hours later in an El Paso hospital. As of this writing, her death is believed to be related to severe dehydration.
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson:
“Jailing children and allowing them to die on our watch does not make America great. This child’s death was the inevitable result of this administration’s cruel and inhumane border enforcement policies. When you turn away people who are legally seeking asylum at official ports of entry, they attempt to make contact with U.S. officials in remote and dangerous areas, and people die. When you militarize the border, including constructing border walls, desperate migrants will attempt to cross in the harshest desert regions, and people die. When you permit a massive paramilitary organization like CBP to detain children and families in prison-like conditions with minimal oversight, people die. In the last year alone, more than 400 migrant deaths were recorded along the U.S.-Mexico border.
We demand full and transparent investigation into the circumstances of this child’s death, and call on the government to institute systemic reforms that prevent this kind of senseless tragedy from ever happening again.”