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5th Migrant Child Dies In Custody, While 4,500 Sexually Abused & Thousands More Still Separated From Parents

Culture & Community By A. RUIZ3209 views
5th Migrant Child Dies In Custody, While 4,500 Sexually Abused & Thousands More Still Separated From Parents

Yet another migrant child has died while in U.S. custody.

Five children, from toddlers to teens, have so far died in U.S. custody from treatable infections, while 4500+ have been sexually abused and unknown thousands remain separated from their families.

The latest victim, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy, was taken into custody by Customs and Border Patrol after crossing the Texas Border on May 13th.  A week later he was found unresponsive in his cell.

The boy, who's identity and cause of death have not yet been revealed, is the 5th migrant child to die in U.S. custody since December, NBC reports.

Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquín and 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo both died while in CBP custody this past December, Jakelin of a bacterial infection and Felipe of complications from the flu.

Jakelin and Felipe, via /Twitter

Another teen, 16-year-old Juan de León Gutiérrez, died in April after falling ill in Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) custody.  The medical examiner reported that Juan had developed a rare condition, a tumor caused by a severe sinus infection or head trauma, according to the Associated Press.

And, just last week, a 2½-year-old toddler died of pneumonia after a month of suffering a high fever and difficulty breathing.

As if the deaths weren't horrifying enough, documents from the Department of Health and Human Services reveal that of the thousands of children that have crossed the border with their families, seeking to escape violence and extreme poverty, over 4,500 have reported being sexually assaulted while in protective custody.

Whether or not CBP and DHS employees were personally responsible for the deaths and trauma, the organizations themselves are responsible.  Once a person is in custody, whether a prisoner or innocent child, the custodial entity is responsible for their welfare and must answer for any harm that may come to them, whether by malice or negligence.

Finally, and perhaps most frightening, despite the administration's assurances that they have ended their policy of family separation and are working to reunite children with parents, officials have revealed that they don't actually have the records and resources to do this.  

NBC quoted an email from a DHS official to a top ICE official that reads:

"[I]n short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to [children], save for a handful. We have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children." 

The numbers are shocking and the whole situation may seem beyond us, but we can do more than comment our outrage and sad emojis.

We can donate to organizations working to help migrant children, like RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center For Education and Legal Services, which has boots on the ground and in court working to free incarcerated infants and youth and reunite families. Click HERE to donate or volunteer.