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A Fifth Migrant Child Died in U.S. Custody. Why Does This Keep Happening?

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A Honduran mother holds her daughter, who fell ill, while being examined by a doctor outside a shelter for migrants on November 21st, 2018, in Mexicali, Mexico.

A 16-year-old boy died in a Border Patrol station in Texas on Monday. He was the fifth child to die after spending time in United States government custody since December. 

Customs and Border Protection agents found the Guatemalan teenager unresponsive that morning and announced his death soon after. The boy’s identity has not been disclosed, and, in a statement, CBP said the cause of death “is not known at this time.”

CBP broke its own regulation by keeping the boy in detention for over a week: Border Patrol agents apprehended him on the Texas-Mexico border on May 13th, and federal law limits the amount time people can be held in rudimentary Border Patrol stations to 72 hours. The child, an unaccompanied minor, should have been transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services by May 16th (for placement in a shelter, foster care, or with a stateside sponsor). Instead, he was found dead in the Weslaco field station on May 20th. (In its statement, CBP said the boy was “due for placement” with HHS.)

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Thanks !

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