Family alleges negligence as eight-year-old migrant girl dies in US Border Patrol custody
On Wednesday, an eight-year-old girl died while under the custody of the US Border Patrol in a border town in the state of Texas, after crossing the southern border with her family. In recent hours, details have emerged about the tragic incident in which family members denounced that the girl reported she couldn’t breathe, a situation that authorities ignored.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stated that the girl suffered a medical emergency at a Border Patrol facility, prompting emergency services to respond and transport her to the hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead.
Mabel Álvarez and Rossel Reyes, parents of the girl identified as Anadith Tanay Reyes, have recently come forward to share their version of the events. In a dialogue with Univisión Noticias, they revealed that the young girl had been complaining of difficulty breathing for days, a situation that was allegedly disregarded by the Border Patrol agents.
They killed her, they didn’t want to help her until she fainted, and then they said they couldn’t call an ambulance, Rossel Reyes asserted.
Anadith Tanay Reyes Álvarez es la niña panameña de 8 anos que murió mientras que ella y su familia estaban bajo custodia de la patrulla fronteriza en Harlingen, Texas. pic.twitter.com/w2jW2QAZkB
— Nidia (@NidiaCavazosTV) May 19, 2023
According to Mabel Álvarez, the fact that they were migrants caused those in charge not to pay the necessary attention to the girl’s health condition. She voiced her concerns in an interview with Telemundo.
Everywhere I went with the authorities, I always told them what had happened, and they never listened to me. Just because I’m an immigrant, she denounced.
It has also been revealed that the young Anadith suffered from congenital heart disease and sickle cell anemia, for which she had undergone surgery three years ago. These health difficulties led her parents to make the decision to cross the border in search of better medical care.
María Zelaya, the victim’s aunt, shared this information and expressed confusion about what will happen to the girl’s body and the future of one of her brothers.
We are blocked, in shock, we don’t know what to do or under what conditions our brother is, where he is right now, or what they are going to do with my niece’s body, Zelaya said.
US authorities are currently investigating the incident in accordance with US border office protocols and will provide additional information later, according to a statement.
The death of this girl marks the first known fatality of a migrant child under the custody of the Border Patrol during the Biden administration. Multiple children died during the tenure of former President Donald Trump, including from flu infections, as reported by CBS television network.
US Border Sees Decrease in Migrant Numbers
The number of individuals attempting to cross the US-Mexico border illegally has fallen since the implementation of new immigration regulations last week, according to a US official on Wednesday, May 17.
The US Border Patrol reported fewer than 4,000 detentions and deportations of migrants in each of the past two days, stated Blas Nunez-Neto from the Department of Homeland Security.
Nunez-Neto explained that there were 10,000 cases per day in the week leading up to the lifting of Title 42, a pandemic-related measure aimed at restricting entry into the country.
This regulation was subsequently replaced by an older one, Title 8, which includes provisions that restrict the right to seek asylum.
US authorities have been working to reduce the number of migrants attempting to enter the country from Mexico, where more than 20,000 individuals per month sought entry last year. The influx has drawn severe criticism of President Joe Biden from Republicans.
Nunez-Neto suggested that the new rules appear to be achieving their intended purpose of deterring migrants. He also noted a decrease in arrivals of migrants from South and Central America through the Mexican border.
To streamline immigration appointment requests, the mobile application CBP One has garnered tens of thousands of visits and has processed over 5,000 requests since May 12, according to the official.
However, Nunez-Neto cautioned that it is still too early to draw definitive conclusions from these preliminary indications.