UNITED STATES—There were two separate deaths of Guatamalan children in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) custody in December 2018 that prompted investigations into the health and well being of the migrant children at the border.
A list of actions and the care given to the children in CBP custody can be found at https://www.dhs.gov/.
The Department of Human Services indicated that the U.S. Border Patrol referred 451 cases to a medical provider, with 259 of those from children; 129 of the children being under the age of 5. Eighty-eight of those children were between the ages 6-14, and 42 of those seen were between the ages of 15-17.
Seventeen individuals were hospitalized with illness as of December 31. Six of those were children. Approximately 50 people a day are referred to a medical provider by Border Patrol. On December 26, there were 82 people referred for medical care.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirsjen Nielsen spoke at the White House during a meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, January 2.
Nielsen, who is in favor of the border wall, spoke about the broken immigration system noting that 2000 people attempt to cross the southern border illegally every day.
She relayed that unaccompanied children show up alone and the law prevents CBP from sending them back to their countries and to their families. They have to be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services who places them with sponsors or relatives in America.
“Parents are making the unconscionable decision to send their children on long, dangerous, and sometimes deadly journeys to our country. We are busting at the seems. HHS is out of capacity and under the law CBP must transfer these children to HHS.
The human toll is real and shocking. Women are being trafficked and raped. 1 out of every 3 women are being sexually abused on their journey to our borders. Kids are being abused and getting very sick. 70% of illegal aliens traveling to our country reported that they were victims of violence on the way to the border. We are doing everything we can to ensure rapid medical care when needed. The men and women of CBP and ICE are doing the best the can with what they have. They don’t have the facilities, the resources, or the legal authority to keep up with this crisis. Only congress can give them that. Our hearts break for families that have lost children and those who are affected by this violence,” said Nielsen.