Migrant toddler dies after border apprehension: report

Migrant toddler dies after border apprehension: report
© UPI photo

A 2 1/2-year-old boy from Guatemala has reportedly died after he was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday. 

The boy had been hospitalized for weeks before his death, The Washington Post reported Wednesday night, citing Guatemala’s Consul Tekandi Paniagua and another person with knowledge of the case.

Paniagua said the toddler was in U.S. custody for three days and appeared to have contracted pneumonia, but that his death is still under investigation. 

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official familiar with the case told The Hill in a statement that Border Patrol agents encountered the boy and his family on April 3 and that on April 6, the boy's mother told agents he was ill. The CBP official said that the boy was taken to Providence Hospital in Horizon City, Texas, that day and moved to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas, a day later.

On April 8, the family was released on its own recognizance at the hospital and was no longer in Border Patrol custody. 

The boy, who has not been identified, is the fourth child to die after a border apprehension since December, the Post reported. All of the children were from Guatemala.

“We have reiterated the message that trips to the United States, in the condition in which the Guatemalan families are undertaking them, is highly dangerous,” Paniagua told the Post in a statement. “We’ve seen four cases in a row of children who have lost their lives in this way.”

U.S. officials have said that border crossings have surged during the past few months, with almost 100,000 people crossing in April. In March then-acting CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan said that the situation had reached a "breaking point."