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One Reason Migrant Children Are Dying in Government Custody: Authorities Can’t Tell When They’re Sick

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A family of three from Honduras crosses the border wall on the beach in Tijuana, Mexico, before surrendering to Border Patrol on the other side on December 13th, 2018.

The last time Juan de León Gutierrez, the 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in government custody at the end of April, talked to his mother on the phone, he told her that he hoped God would send their family corn, salt, or beans. Climate change-fueled drought in the Guatemalan highlands had forced the teenager’s family to eat just one meal a day, and, at the beginning of April, de León Gutierrez began the journey north alone. As the Washington Post reports, the boy called his mother from a smuggler’s cell phone in Mexico just before he crossed the border into the United States on April 19th. During that conversation, de León Gutierrez told his mother he had a headache. Less than two weeks later, he was dead from a brain infection.

De León Gutierrez was the third Guatemalan child to die in U.S. custody since the beginning of December, a month in which a seven-year-old girl and eight-year-old boy both died while detained by Customs and Border Protection. (He was under the custody of a different federal agency: the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is in charge of sheltering unaccompanied minors who arrive in the U.S.)

Then, on Wednesday, May 15th, the Washington Post reported that a fourth child had died after being in government custody. The two-year old, another Guatemalan, had been taken to the hospital after being apprehended by CBP, then formally “released” with his mother while there. He died in the Texas hospital on Tuesday night, several weeks after he was first apprehended.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !