CBP Faces New Scrutiny After Second Child Dies in Their Custody

The agency has announced new policies in response.


|||Mani Albrecht/CBP/Cover Images/Newscom
Mani Albrecht/CBP/Cover Images/Newscom

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is under fire once again following the death of a young migrant in their care on Christmas Eve.

CNN reports that an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala was detained along with his father earlier in the week. A statement from CBP explained that he was taken to a hospital in New Mexico after an agent noticed signs of illness. He was initially diagnosed with a common cold following a medical evaluation. Later detection of a fever led to him being held for an additional 90 minutes in observation. Doctors eventually discharged him with prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen.

The young boy was returned to the hospital hours later after he began vomiting. He passed away that evening.

In a secondary statement about the boy's death, CBP announced updated procedures for the children in its care. Changes include secondary medical checks on detained children, identifying solutions to capacity issues, receiving medical assistance and aid from other departments, and putting additional focus on the care of children under 10 in their custody.

Earlier in the month, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl also passed away in CBP custody. Emergency responders determined that she had been without food and water for several days.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded to the death by speaking of the limitations of CBP agents to care for children. Other high-ranking officials have mentioned that the current facilities, which were designed for "male single adults," are struggling to house families.

Following the death of the young girl, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reacted much more bluntly. "This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions," ACLU Advocacy Manager Cynthia Pompa said in a statement. "Lack of accountability and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths."

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  1. Of course, the children's parents bear no responsibility. Abolish ICE now!

    1. It would also solve other problems to abolish democrats instead.

      1. You may be right in this case. One of the main concerns on the right is that immigrants from south of the country would be reliably Democrat voters.

        1. No, they would be reliable welfare sinks.

  2. Sure... But let's not mention the grueling journey over dangerous terrain and dangerous places and the toll that takes on one's body and who made them under go that...

    1. Because it's irrelevant. The grueling journey in the desert for this kid was probably 2 hours max - followed by six DAYS in CBP custody with only 'welfare checks' (basically a CBP agent asking if everyone is ok). Ain't the fault of the agents themselves really. They're not medically trained and don't need to be. But it is pretty obvious that CBP doesn't even have any visiting nurses at those detention facilities - has no contingency plans for bringing them in in response to any surge of migrants even at the busiest CBP ports - and relies entirely on a very few EMT's (which weren't relevant in this case either) for transport to ER's (which is prob gonna lose the malpractice lawsuit that will be brought against it).

      And looking at the area where they were picked up - it's almost certainly one of those areas with a wall/fence - can see it in places along a road on the Mexico side.

      1. According to the story the child was brought to a hospital and treated discharged from there. Is the CBP supposed to second guess the doctors now?

        Maybe the doctors were negligent, maybe they performed to the standard of care but missed something anyway. Either way, I don't see how the blame goes to the CBP.

        1. Looking at the linked timeline, the ER clearly didn't do their job (releasing a kid one hour after they've registered a 103 fever) and will lose a malpractice lawsuit. But the reality is that that temp should have been measured days earlier - so that you actually have a medical record based on something more than the sayso of a peasant surrounded by cops in the middle of an ER on Xmas eve.

          It may well be that nothing could have been done here. But it's pretty obvious that these detention facilities don't even have aid stations or the facilities available to even a school nurse (not to mention - not having the school nurse type to visit and diagnose a kid early on).

          1. I do not agree. It does not look like the hospital did anything wrong.

            Children with fevers are nearly always treated the way this child was. If there were other complications such as neurological deficits, intractable vomiting or diahrrea, hypoxia, or clinical signs of denydration that would be a different story.

            My grandson had fever about the same and cough just last week. He went home and got better with oral hydration and antibiotics.

            1. He went home

              This kid was going to a detention facility - that had no medical skills, probably no medical supplies, and couldn't even take his temp. Sorry - it absolutely is the responsibility of the ER doctors to know the circumstances that the patient is going into upon release from them.

              1. So having a discharge plan is important. He was with his father and the border agents. The pediatrician does not come to your house to make sure you have a thermometer or pedialyte.

                They would have given them appropriate instructions. That is certainly documented and always is in a chart. That is within the standard of care and generally all that is done.

                Most parents have no medical skills either but this as has been pointed out is not rocket science.

          2. You are literally making it up as you go. Spare us the BS

    2. imagine being a parent whose child is exposed daily to extreme violence, who has little prospect for legitimate work as they become an adult, and who is approaching an age where recruitment (you can't say no, btb) by criminal gangs is inevitable. would you chance a difficult and dangerous journey to remove them from that environment, and bring them o a place of relative peace and the rule of law?? I'd guess that I would. having survived that experience, how much worse is it to lose that child to the negligence of an organization that sees its role as enforcement not of law, but of xenophobia, and sees your entire family as somehow inferior simply due to the circumstances into which you were collectively born?? CBP and ICE are sick and out of control, and are not even living up to a basic humane standard.

      1. What a crock of shit. I agreed with you up to, "Having survived..."

        A child died. That is a tragedy. US authorities didn't murder that child. He was ill and succumbed to that illness. There will be more children who die in similar circumstances. US immigration law is humane to the extent that it can be. It is the responsibility of US law to protect and advance the interests of US citizens. The world is filled with poor people; we can't save them all.

        The logical (humane) extension of your bleating is that the US should invade its southern neighbors... for the children. Nip the problem at its source. Surely, our southern neighbors would be better off under US law and control. I am sure the poor people of the "shit hole" countries would embrace US troops with open arms and paths laden with rose pedals; just like the Iraqis and Afghans.

        1. The only solution to nip this problem in the bud is to turn the US into the worst shithole of all so no one anywhere can possibly imagine that they will be able to improve their life by ever moving here. A bit of national repellent so to speak. There are no legal options available for them to migrate which is obviously good. But we need to make the illegal migration more of a repellent rather than just an inconvenience like some pussy wall.

          Guatemala has a homicide rate of 30/100,000. So we need to make sure at least one Guatemalan dies in CBP custody every week. Maybe they die of illness - maybe shot while trying to escape custody. But whatever - we need to publicize the hell out of that achievement. Cut off their heads and airdrop them back over their villages so that we can be sure they are paying attention.

          These peasants must be made to realize that their life may be shitty now but it will be worse if they try to leave. then and only then will they submit to all the wonderful development plans that are already being put in place there by the Pentagon and Citicorp and others

      2. Imagine that kid was born on the Chicago southside to US parents, what are his parents going to to? Journey to a safer country?
        Japan maybe?

  3. Gotta keep out the Bad Hombres?.

  4. One way to prevent children from dying in custody is to kill all invaders while they are on foreign soil.
    Air strikes, minefields, razor wire, machine guns, the full Monty.

    1. You're saying you want us to invade Mexico and Central and South America? For their own good? Like we've done in the Middle East?

  5. As a great man once said: "they're not sending us their best people"

    1. What a coincidence, Trump said the exact same thing!

    2. +100

    3. They send us all the crappy 8-year olds.

      Where are all the good hearty 8-year olds from...Norway.

  6. For all I know, this may be a real scandal. It's hard to know if the media has identified a real wolf when they can't tell the difference between a wolf and a French poodle.

    1. Alternatively, I know that you can't reflexively trust a government agency, even if it's hated by the (normally pro-government) media.

      1. 99% of the abuses we're seeing from Border Patrol and ICE long predate Trump.

        Nobody gave a shit as long as their fucking Messiah was president though. That is the infuriating part of this.

        Most of the people screaming bloody murder have not actually put forward any solutions, either. How are we supposed to efficiently process hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants every year? Where are we supposed to keep the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who show up at the border every year, and how are we supposed to keep track of them? Their response is typically "we shouldn't hold them at all", which is just fully open borders, which they claim they don't support.

        And of course, our brave firefighters in the press are just part of the propaganda and never ask Democrats just what exactly they think we should be doing with the huge numbers of people showing up at the border. These people have no compassion. They don't give a shit about these immigrants. They don't give a shit about finding a realistic solution, because that would ruin a talking point.

        1. Yeah - this issue long predates Trump. CBP has for decades had the most incompetent mgmt - even judging it relative to other federal agencies. Hasn't had an external manager since 1924 - which is a huge red flag. Basically everyone outside CBP has ignored it - and the union has seen it as their milk cow.

          But it IS Trump's fault here. He ran on the issue of making it important - and yet hired the sameoldsameold internal folks cuz he got the support of the union. And is pretty clearly incapable of assessing mgmt talent since every story for the last year or so is at core a mgmt incompetence problem.

        2. The problem is they have forwarded answers to these problems, they've just punted on legislation, implementation plans and funding them. Some say everything would be just fine if we had open borders, medicare for all and UBI generous enough that everyone is at least middle class. See, there isn't a problem you can't solve if you just throw enough of other people's money at it and measure success by intentions rather than, well anything else.

  7. Funny thing. If US citizen is caught "endangering" a child by letting the kid play outside, or the kid shows up at school with a bruised arm, CPS swoops down, nabs the kid (i.e. rips it from its parent's arms) and separates the family. If a citizen's kid dies because of parental neglect (whether or not the kid dies "in custody" at a hospital) said parent is in the slammer for manslaughter at least. The kid's final custodians are praised for their valiant attempt at lifesaving.

    But an illegal migrant drags a kid across hundreds of miles of desert to sneak into the country, kid dies "in custody", the parent gets a sympathetic national cryfest and the custodians are blamed for the death.

    Go figure.

  8. Sometimes children die, and often children are let down by the people charged with their care, especially those in an institutional sense. You want to blame Trump? Go ahead. People arrogant enough to think they can take the mantle of the imperial presidency and make decisions on behalf of 370 million individuals deserve to take the heat when they inevitably bite off more than they can chew and alter lives for the worst.

  9. Seems to me that the doctors at the hospital got it wrong, not the Border Patrol.

  10. We need to get proactive. Stop worrying so much about what to do with these immigrants after they get into custody, and start worrying about keeping them healthy before they're picked up by the Border Patrol.

    What part of "Medicare for everybody" don't you people understand?

    Medicare for our inner cities, Medicare for Honduras, Medicare for Nicaragua, Medicare for Guatemala, Medicare for Rohinga, Medicare for Mexico, . . .

    Medicare today, Medicare tomorrow, Medicare forever!

    . . . unless you just want people to die.

  11. Who cares. The boy was Guatemalan. It's not like he was a *real person* or anything.

    1. You obviously care, Jeff. Thank God for your caring, Jeff. We need more Jeffs.

      1. Genuflect at the statue of St. Jeff The Caring who lectured the Philistines with a ridiculous satire.

        From the Book of Lord Haw Haw:

        Verse 1: "Verily did St. Jeff the Caring go into the temple of Philistines who were discussing how to best ignore the plight of immigrants without permission. Upon arriving, he prayed for divine guidance from Jonathan Swift on how to show the unbelievers the way, the truth and the light."
        Verse 2: "And lo, Jonathan Swift appeared from the Hell where Anglican Priests burn for their apostasy and provided St Jeff with a ridiculous satire to employ on the crowds...."

  12. Following the death of the young girl, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reacted much more bluntly. "This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions,"

    These people do not do their cause any good by putting out histrionics like this.

    CBP facilities aren't nice, they're a fair sight better than a prison though. And again - how the hell are you supposed to diagnose and treat prisoners (especially child prisoners) when a) they've been under severe stress for the several previous days (or longer) and b) the parents can't or won't communicate clearly with you due to language barriers or fear?

    And I'm saying this as a guy who thinks the CBP should be abolished with free immigration for all.

    The problems here stem not from the lack of care that CBP is providing - and there are genuine examples of serious, no shit, neglect running right up in to straight up murder by CBP agents of adults in their custody so I'm not saying CBP is *good* - its that our immigration policy incentivizes the cross-country trek and its *that trek itself* that is killing these kids. You're not hearing about all the ones that are buried on the trip up. You're only hearing about the tiny few that were on death's door that CBP got to too late to save.

    1. how the hell are you supposed to diagnose and treat prisoners (especially child prisoners) when blahblahblah

      Every school nurse in the world knows how to do this. Hell CBP - one DAY after this latest announcement - has supposedly now managed to test every single one of the 12,000 kids in custody. Even though they pretty obviously didn't have anything in place until the second kid died. This ain't rocket science.

      Doesn't mean every detention facility needs a full-time nurse. But when you got 12,000 kids in full-time custody, then it is derelict and incompetent in the extreme not to have had that sort of system - where nurses are scheduled to visit and where those facilities had the supplies like thermadots and bandages and pedialyte and basic schoolnurse supplies - in place a long fucking time ago.

      1. Except that the kid in the first case was in custody for only 8 hours before she passed and the kid in the second case was noticed and taken for medical care. The medical staff misdiagnosed the problem.

        1. The two cases are different. But in both cases, the fever itself was a reason to call/see the doctor - and fever like other vital signs tends to play out over time. In the first - the fever had already caused seizure and the kid was prob dangerously febrile when first caught. In the second, 103 when presented at ER and no other info is a very different story than 103 when presented and these were vital signs from 6 days ago.

          Even a third world refugee camp - or the volunteer aid stations at a marathon - has the facility to take vital signs and use that - not peasant sayso or a bureaucrat form - as the basis to start monitoring some in a large group more closely. Esp kids - and esp remote locations.

          1. JFree

            At the end of the day.

            You and I were not there.

            You seem quick to blame the medicals because a patient died.

            Well try and prove that. Eventually all the patients die.

            Thank you for the discussion. Really.

  13. Goes to show that illegals are fine with sacrificing their own kids to get some free Americans shit.

  14. Since 2001, the remains of over 2,400 people trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico have been found in Pima County, Arizona, alone. Around 1,400 were found during the Obama Administration. Where's the criticism of Obama for letting these people die on U.S. soil?

    Humane Borders

    1. "They did it too", the king of lame excuses.

  15. He was diagnosed with a common cold despite having a fever, which isn't a feature of the common cold, and he was prescribed amoxicillin, which doesn't even treat a cold. Then he returns and dies hours later. Whatever doctor treated him was grossly medically negligent and deserves to pay the price.

    1. That is not even close to a case for malpractice.

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  17. If the kid is in CBP custody, they're on US soil and the CBP/Federal government now has some pastoral responsibility toward them. The answer is to not take these people into custody in the first place and, in classic choose your own adventure style, I present three options:

    1) Open borders! LOL

    2) Just turn them away/build the wall

    3) Continue the current SNAFU that is ICE/CBP

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