The Biden Administration pointed to medical missteps as the cause of the tragic death of an eight-year-old migrant girl in Border Patrol custody last month. The case has highlighted the inadequate health care services for migrants, shedding light on the ongoing crisis at the U.S. border.
The young girl experienced a medical emergency at a Border Patrol detention center in Harlingen, Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials cite equipment failure, lack of treatment documentation, and overlooking the girl’s critical medical history as key factors contributing to her demise.
Biden Admin Blames Medical Staff for In-Custody Death of Migrant Child in May https://t.co/UyJYKRvILP
— Bob Price (@BobPriceBBTX) June 2, 2023
In the early morning of May 16, the child’s fever spiked to a worrisome 104.9 degrees. CBP medical staff reportedly contracted care to external sources and treated the child with fever-reducing medications and ice packs. However, despite the severity of her condition and urgent pleas from her mother, the medical staff did not take the essential step of transferring her to a hospital.
“Several medical providers involved in this incident have been prohibited from working in CBP facilities,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller. However, this response seems more reactive than proactive, as the failures leading to the child’s death were numerous and egregious.
The review by the CBP suggests that none of the medical staff working with the girl and her mother knew she suffered from sickle cell anemia and congenital heart failure. Not only was this information vital to her medical treatment, but it also underscores the necessity for proper medical documentation and a rigorous review of medical histories for detained migrants.
Additionally, Miller announced the deployment of United States Public Health Service clinicians to several CBP facilities in the coming week. Yet, one cannot help but question the timing of these initiatives. The life of a vulnerable child could have been saved if these measures had been in place earlier.
The harrowing case has also exposed the limitations of CBP facilities. During the incident, the detention center’s camera system was out of service, highlighting a lapse in medical care and a disregard for surveillance and security standards. It was only restored to working order a week after the tragedy, prompting questions about the operational capacity of these facilities.
The death of the eight-year-old girl marks the second loss of a migrant child in Biden administration custody within a week. A 17-year-old Honduran boy died in his sleep at a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services facility in Florida. As the Biden administration pushes forward its immigration policies, it must address these critical failures that have fatal consequences.
The heartbreaking situation calls for an immediate reassessment of the procedures and standards within CBP and other immigrant detention facilities. As the Biden administration takes measures to address the identified deficiencies, they must ensure this tragedy is never repeated.