Girl, 7, died in Customs and Border Protection custody last week, report says

Girl, 7, died in Customs and Border Protection custody last week, report says
U.S. Border Patrol agents stand guard in front of the border in San Diego, seen over the border fence from Tijuana, Mexico, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Source: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

(RNN) – A 7-year-old girl died while in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week, according to a Washington Post report.

The Post reported that CBP has acknowledged the death of the young girl, a native of Guatemala.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child,” a spokesman for CBP, Andrew Meehan, told The Post.

He told the paper that Border Patrol agents “took every possible step to save the child’s life.”

The paper said the girl died of dehydration and shock hours after being taken into custody, along with her father, after they crossed into the U.S. illegally in New Mexico.

The girl and her father were part of a group of 163 people apprehended on the night of Dec. 6. The Post reported that about eight and a half hours after being taken into custody, early on the morning of Dec. 7, the girl began having seizures.

CBP told The Post it believed she had not eaten or drank water for “several days.”

She was airlifted to an El Paso hospital, where she went into cardiac arrest and was revived, before later dying.

CBP is investigating the death, according to The Post. It was not clear what level of care the girl received after coming into CBP custody.

According to CBP statistics, more than 25,000 family units were apprehended at the southwest border in November. Another more than 5,000 unaccompanied children were taken into custody.

As thousands of migrants massed across the border in Tijuana last month, the Border Patrol and its agents came under scrutiny and criticism for firing tear gas across the border to break up crowds, which included women and children, pushing across the Tijuana River.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said that children were not targeted and that he thought it was “remarkable that agents were able to resolve the situation without any serious injuries or a breach of the border.”

CBP has not yet released the girl’s name.

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