A 7-year old Guatemalan girl has died in US Customs and Border Protection custody, a source with the agency told CNN late Thursday.
The source referred questions about all other details on the matter to local authorities.
The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the girl died of dehydration and septic shock after she was taken into custody by Border Patrol for illegally crossing with her father into the United States.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child,” CBP spokesman Andrew Meehan said in a statement to the Post.
“Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.”
CNN has reached out to local CBP authorities.
Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said late Thursday in a statement he was “devastated by reports that a seven-year-old girl who was taken into Customs and Border Patrol custody died of dehydration and exhaustion. I’ll be asking for a full investigation by the Inspector General and Congress into the conditions and circumstances that led to her death.”
“We can do better as a nation,” said Castro, a member of the House Foreign Affairs and House Intelligence Committees.
“This is a humanitarian crisis and we have a moral obligation to ensure these vulnerable families can safely seek asylum, which is legal under immigration and international law at our borders,” Castro’s statement said.
Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, in a statement called for “a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths.”
“This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions,” the statement said. “Lack of accountability and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths. In 2017, migrant deaths increased even as the number of border crossings dramatically decreased.”
By Nick Valencia and Chris Boyette, CNN