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US immigration

Seven-year-old Guatemalan girl dies in US custody at Mexico border

  • Authorities said the girl started suffering seizures after being detained for eight hours and not eating or drinking ‘for several days’
PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 10:38am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 December, 2018, 7:31pm

A seven-year-old Guatemalan girl died in Border Patrol custody last week after she was detained for illegally crossing into the US with her father, federal officials said on Thursday.

The young unidentified girl was taken into custody with her father around 10pm on December 6 near Lordsburg, New Mexico, the US Customs and Border Protection agency said in a statement.

The two were part of a group of 163 migrants who approached the border hoping to turn themselves over to US officials.

Over eight hours later, the child started suffering seizures, according to CBP. Medical responders measured the girl had a lethal 105.7 body temperature and she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days”, CBP said.

The girl went into cardiac arrest after being taken to an El Paso, Texas, hospital, but doctors managed to revive her, according to the agency.

“However, the child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported,” CBP said.

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Andrew Meehan, a CBP spokesman, offered his “sincerest condolences” to the girl’s family.

“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances,” Meehan said. “As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathise with the loss of any child.”

Trump critics were quick to point fingers at the government’s policies.

“Horrifying,” the official Women’s March handle tweeted. “She should never have been put in a detention centre. She never should have been neglected once taken into custody. Her death is on this administration’s hands.”