Things That Matter

A Migrant Child Becomes Fifth To Die Under U.S. Custom And Border Protection Since December

A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died on Monday after being detained for a week by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas. The teen, identified as Carlos Gregorio “Goyitio” Hernandez Vasquez, was apprehended near Hidalgo, Texas, on May 13 and was then transferred to the Weslaco Border Patrol Station on Sunday.

Gregorio “Goyito” Hernandez Vasquez is the fifth Guatemalan minor to die under U.S custody since December.

Family members are mourning the tragic and avoidable death of “Goyito”. They described him as a well-behaved teen who simply wanted to help support his family. In an interview with Telemundo, relatives described the teenager as a fan of soccer and music, playing both the bass and the piano.

His family says that Vasquez made the journey with hopes of reuniting with family members already in the US. It was also to help support his eight siblings living in Guatemala, specifically, a brother who has special needs.

According to news reports, the teenager passed away just one day after being diagnosed with influenza A. On Sunday, Vasquez told the staff at the Central Processing Center that “he was not feeling well.” After seeing a nurse practitioner that determined he had the flu, Border Patrol agents went to a pharmacy to pick up medication, a CBP official said.

He passed away just six days after he was apprehended by Border Patrol agents.

Credit: @splcenter / Twitter

Vasquez continued to receive treatment at the processing center throughout Sunday and would be transferred midday to the Weslaco station. Upon arrival, he was segregated from other detained migrants due to his illness. He would be again medically assessed and have his medication turned over to the medical professionals at the station, officials said.

The next morning, Vasquez was found unresponsive. He had been at the border patrol station for about 17 hours. When officials were asked why he was not taken to a hospital, officials said that was a decision that was up to the medical care providers at their facilities.

“The men and women of US Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family,” said Acting Commissioner John Sanders in a statement. “CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody.”

Shortly after his passing, it was discovered that more migrants, that were in the same processing center as Vasquez, showed signs of fevers.

Credit: @LatinoUSA / Twitter

On Tuesday, CBP officials found a “large number” of migrants in custody with “high fevers who are also displaying signs of a flu-related illness” at the processing center in McAllen, where Vasquez was first held.

“To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the [central processing center],” CBP said in a statement.

After a health screening of the detainee population at the facility, officials had quarantined 32 migrants that had contracted influenza. CBP would temporarily stop operations over fears that more migrants getting sick.

Back in March, Kevin McAleenan, the acting homeland security secretary, was seeing that more migrants coming into custody under ill conditions.

“We are doing everything we can to simply avoid a tragedy in a CBP facility,” McAleenan said. “But with these numbers, with the types of illnesses we’re seeing at the border, I fear that it’s just a matter of time.”

The latest migrant death shows the reality of what’s really going on at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Credit: @ErikaAndiola / Twitter

In April, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency responsible for unaccompanied migrant children, said it was on track to detain the most children in its history. Just last month, almost 100,000 families crossed the border, highlighting the growing crisis at the southern border.

Astrid Dominguez, director for the ACLU Border Rights Center, said the latest migrant death is an alarming sign of what’s going in detention centers. Last week, the ACLU filed a complaint concerning the conditions of migrants being detained in Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley facilities. The same place where Vasquez was held.

“We’ve received complaints from migrants about inhumane conditions, prolonged detention, lack of shelter, poor medical attention and abuse from agents,” Dominguez said in a statement. “We need more than an investigation, children ought to be protected. CBP needs to hire child welfare and medical professionals to humanely receive and process all arriving families.”

Lawmakers are raising their voice to point out the intentional nature of the harm done to children at the border.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

We have seen the horrible impact the dangerous policies are having on the border. Children are dying in detention and families remain separated because of the “zero tolerance” policy the Trump administration implemented.

Our elected leaders are not backing down and making the noise people want to hear about the disastrous border policies.

This is why we elect people to speak for us. The American people are against a border wall and in favor of immigration. Even more, people believe that the children should be taken care of.

READ: All of the Migrant Children That Have Been Killed At The U.S. Border

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Police In Tulum Killed A Refugee By Kneeling On Her Neck And Mexicans Want Justice

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Police In Tulum Killed A Refugee By Kneeling On Her Neck And Mexicans Want Justice

So many of those attempting to reach the United States – or even Mexico in some cases – are already fleeing extreme violence, poverty, and fear. Refugees from Honduras and El Salvador (among other countries) are hoping to find a better life faraway from the corruption and danger that they face in their home countries.

But what happens when those same people fleeing violence in their home countries are met with state-sponsored violence on their journey to a better life? Unfortunately, at least one refugee, 36-year-old Victoria Esperanza Salazar, a mother of two teenage daughters, has lost her life while hoping for a better one.

Four police officers are in custody after the killing of a woman from El Salvador.

Four municipal police officers are in custody and under investigation for murder following the death of a Salvadoran woman who was violently pinned to the ground while she was being arrested in Tulum.

Video footage shows a female officer with her knee on the back of 36-year-old Victoria Esperanza Salazar, a mother of two teenage daughters who was living in Tulum on a humanitarian visa.

In the footage, Victoria, who was apparently arrested for disturbing the peace, can be heard moaning in pain and is seen writhing on the road next to a police vehicle as she was held down for more than 20 seconds. Three male police are also present, one of whom appears to help the female offer restrain Victoria. Footage then shows officers drag her limp body into the back of a police truck.

Many are comparing Victoria’s murder to that of George Floyd.

Many in Mexico are comparing Victoria’s death to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer, who also died pinned under an officer’s knee. Video shared on social media shows a police officer leaning on Salazar’s head and neck and she cries out, and then goes limp. Officers then drag her body into the back of a police truck.

Mexican officials have largely condemned the officers’ actions and the Attorney General said that the officers — three men and one woman — will be charged with femicide. The charge of femicide carries a penalty of no less than 40 years in prison. The police actions violated the national law on the use of force, the Attorney General’s Office said. 

Victoria’s death comes as millions of Mexican women demand that the authorities do more to combat gender violence in Mexico, where an average of 11 women are killed every day. Her alleged murder also occurred as Mexican authorities ramp up enforcement against mainly Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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