Washington — An eight-year-old migrant girl died in federal U.S. custody on Wednesday after crossing the southern border with her family, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.
The migrant girl died after experiencing a “medical emergency” inside a U.S. Border Patrol station in Harlingen, Texas, where she was being held with family members, CBP said in a statement Wednesday. The girl was pronounced dead at a local hospital, the agency added.
In its statement, CBP said the agency was investigating the death, and that it planned to disclose “additional information” later on. Congressional officials were also notified of the death Wednesday.
“Consistent with CBP protocol, the Office of Professional Responsibility is conducting an investigation of the incident,” the agency said. “The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the Harlingen Police Department were also notified.”
The girl’s death marks the first known death of a migrant child in Border Patrol custody since the Trump administration, when several minors died, including because of flu infections.
Last week, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials disclosedof a 17-year-old migrant teen from Honduras who was being housed in one of the department’s shelters for unaccompanied minors in Florida. HHS is also investigating that death, which officials said likely stemmed from an epileptic seizure.
U.S. border officials transfer migrant children to HHS if they cross the southern border without parents or legal guardians. In March, a four-year-old girl from Honduras described as “medically fragile” died in HHS custody, but her death was not reported until last week.
At least six migrant children died in federal custody in 2018 and 2019, most of them in Border Patrol custody or soon after being released by the agency.
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