Seven-year old Guatemalan dies in US border control custody

TOPSHOT - US Customs and Border Protection agents participate in a training exercise at a vehicle entry point along the border with Mexico on November 5, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. - Around 4,800 US soldiers were deployed to the border with Mexico, the Pentagon announced, saying it could not give a price tag for the operation Democrats decry as political maneuvring from President Donald Trump. (Photo by Andrew Cullen / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CULLEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A seven-year old Guatemalan girl has died in US border control custody after crossing the border illegally as part of the migrant caravan. The girl entered the US last week, and was one of 163 people who handed themselves into patrol agents on 6th December.

It is reported that the girl and her family were being held near the city of Lordsburg in New Mexico, approximately 90 miles from the US-Mexico border.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents said that the girl had not eaten or drunk in several days, and was flown by helicopter to El Paso hospital in Texas after she began to have seizures. She died in hospital of dehydration and shock.

Concerns have previously been raised about the conditions that migrants are detained in, with Democratic politicians and activists especially concerned by the holding cells. Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the American Civil Liberties Union Border Rights Centre said that the death was the fault of the “inhumane conditions”.

“This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions.

“Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths.”

Cynthia Pompa

Despite the CBP claiming the girl hadn’t eaten or drunk for days prior to her death, it is still unclear whether she was provided food or water when she arrived at the holding cells. It is also unclear whether she was with her family following reports that parents and children and split up.

The girl is yet to be named.

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