An eight-year-old girl has become the third migrant child to die under President Joe Biden’s administration and the first minor to die in US custody after the pandemic-era Title 42 policy was scrapped last week .
Panama-born Anadith Reyes died Wednesday after falling ill at a US Border Patrol station in Harlingen, Texas.
Her parents, both Honduran nationals, came forward and accused immigration officials of failing to provide immediate care after the child complained she could not breathe well.
“They killed my daughter,” a distraught Rossel Reyes told Univisión on Thursday. ‘(It was) medical negligence. They wouldn’t attend to her until she passed out and said they could call an ambulance.
Anadith Reyes, an eight-year-old Panamanian national, died on Wednesday after falling ill at a US Border Patrol facility in Harlingen, Texas. She is the third child to die in US custody since President Joe Biden took office. By comparison, six children died in US custody during former President Donald Trump’s tenure.
Honduran nationals Mabel Álvarez (left) and Rossel Reyes (right) blame U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials for the death of their eight-year-old child, who they say was never received medical treatment in the detention center after complaining that they could not breathe well
His parents alleged that their child spent several days complaining of breathing difficulties and that officers did nothing to prevent his sudden death.
Lorna Santos told Telemundo that her niece, Anadith Reyez, was diagnosed with the flu after border agents arrested the family on May 9.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement that the girl was pronounced dead in the ambulance transporting her to a local hospital and that its internal affairs division would conduct the investigation. ‘investigation.
However, Mabel Álvarez rejected the federal agency’s version of events and claimed that she was carrying her daughter when she died.
“I told her, ‘Baby, your dad is here.’ She turned around to see and she died in my arms,'” the teary-eyed mother told the network.
Rossel Reyes recalls seeing his daughter struggling to breathe as his wife held her.
“She was dying in his arms,” he said.
The Santos family planned to start a new life in New York with Anadith Reyes and their sons, ages 12 and 14.
The parents were also seeking better care for the girl, who suffered from congenital heart disease and sickle cell disease.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says eight-year-old Anadith Reyes of Panama died in an ambulance transporting her from the Border Patrol Station in Harlingen, Texas, to a local hospital. .
Anadith Reyes is the first child to die in US government custody after Title 42 was removed
Ángel Maradiaga died in a migrant shelter in Florida on May 10 after suffering what authorities say was an epileptic seizure
Anadith Reyes was born with heart disease and had surgery three years ago in Panama.
She is the second migrant minor in a week to die in US custody after 17-year-old Honduran Ángel Maradiaga was found dead at a migrant shelter in Safety Harbor, Florida.
The 17-year-old, who crossed the US-Mexico border without his parents and was being cared for by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, reportedly suffered a seizure in his sleep at the Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Service migrant shelter May 10.
On March 17, a four-year-old girl, who also came to the United States unaccompanied, died in a Michigan hospital three days after suffering cardiac arrest.
Six migrant minors have died in US custody during former President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House.
What is Title 42?
Title 42 was a pandemic-era regulation that allowed migrants to be returned directly to Mexico without even seeking asylum.
For more than three years, Title 42 had allowed the government to quickly deport millions of migrants who crossed the border illegally before they could seek asylum during the pandemic.
But now that the Biden administration is lifting all Covid-19 protocols, it is also lifting restricted migration in favor of a controlled alternative – a move that has seen tens of thousands of migrants flock to the southern border in panic. to enter American soil.
The Biden administration struggled with the large influx of migrants crossing the southern border before Title 42 ended, though arrivals dropped significantly from 10,000 to 4,000 a day after the contentious policy ended.
Immigration advocates traveled to the Mexican side of the border, where thousands of migrants remain hoping to enter the United States, and warned of the growing health crisis they face.
Amy Fischer, who oversees refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA, said “almost everyone” they saw on the Mexican side of the border “had some type of health issue that they were dealing with. “. She said it was ‘almost universal’ for migrants to ‘lift their shirt and show a rash or say my child has X type of illness’.
The US Border Patrol has begun releasing migrants to the United States without notice to appear in immigration court, instead ordering them to report to an immigration office within 60 days. The move frees Border Patrol agents from cumbersome processing duties, allowing them to open up space in detention facilities. A federal judge in Florida has ordered an end to quick releases.
Border Patrol had 28,717 people in custody on May 10, the day before pandemic-related asylum restrictions expired, double from two weeks earlier, according to a court filing. By Sunday, the number had fallen 23% to 22,259, still unusually high.