Pelosi: Democrats will investigate ‘unconscionable’ deaths of children in Border Patrol custody

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Just weeks after it was revealed that a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl had died in U.S. Border Patrol custody after illegally crossing the border, it was announced that an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy had also fallen ill and died while in custody.

Predictably, the liberal media and elected Democrats seized on the death of the young boy to criticize the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Trump administration more broadly, while presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to investigate the incidents in the next Congress.

Pelosi said in a statement, “We all have a moral responsibility to ensure all children of God are treated with compassion and dignity. The death now of two children in U.S. custody in unconscionable.”

Timeline prior to death in custody

As for the Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody, ABC News cited a timeline released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that documented what occurred between the time he was first taken into custody on Dec. 18 until he died in a hospital on Dec. 25.

The boy was first apprehended with his father on Dec. 18 near El Paso, Texas, and was taken to a nearby processing center, where he received food and drink and welfare checks.

On Dec. 20, the boy and his father were transferred to another Border Patrol station near El Paso, then on Dec. 22 were transferred yet again to a station in New Mexico to reduce “capacity levels” at the El Paso sector … with the boy receiving the requisite food, drink and welfare checks all throughout that time period.

On Monday, Dec. 24, the boy began to show signs of illness and was transported in the morning to a medical facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, to receive treatment. The boy was later released, then readmitted, then released again in the afternoon.

Agents decided to take him back to the hospital once more after he began vomiting and became “lethargic” — even though the boy’s father had declined further medical assistance — later in the evening. Unfortunately, the boy slipped out of consciousness on the return trip to the hospital. After multiple efforts by hospital staff to revive him failed, the boy was declared dead late on Christmas Eve.

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Protocol changes

In response to the boy’s death, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a statement, “This is a tragic loss. On behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, our deepest sympathies go out to the family.”

Asking Congress for help, McAleenan said that a “different approach” is needed to handle the “enormous flow” of migrants, which includes more children and families than in years past.

“What we’re seeing is more children than ever before coming into our custody,” he said Wednesday. “At this pace in December we’ll have almost 25,000 children, most of them accompanied by parents who have crossed our border and arriving in custody … that’s very different than we’ve seen before.”

Meanwhile, CBS reported that CBP ordered medical checks be conducted on all minors in its custody, and was reportedly considering a “surge (of) medical assistance” to the border region to facilitate that order.

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