8-Year-Old Girl Dies in Custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The girl was with her family and had been at the Harlingen Station when she experienced a "medical emergency" on Wednesday

AP Photo/Andres Leighton
AP Photo/Andres Leighton

Authorities are investigating the death of an 8-year-old girl who experienced a medical emergency while in U.S. Border Patrol custody in Harlingen, Texas on Wednesday.

The child and her family were at the Harlingen Station when she became ill, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

"Emergency Medical Services were called to the station and transported her to the local hospital where she was pronounced dead," the release states.

The agency's Office of Professional Responsibility is now conducting an investigation, per the CBP, and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and Harlingen Police Department were also notified.

Related:At Least 26 People Dead After Freight Truck and Passenger Van Collide in Mexico

Sgt. Larry Moore with the Harlingen Police Department told the Associated Press that he did not have further information on the girl's death.

The tragedy comes nearly one week after the expiration of Title 42, the Trump-era immigration policy that allowed authorities to turn away migrants at U.S. borders.

Critics of the policy transition, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, predicted a surge of migrants would try to cross the border.

Related:At Least 39 Dead and 29 Injured in Migrant Center Fire Near U.S.-Mexico Border

Last Monday, the governor announced the deployment of a Texas Tactical Border Force to "respond to the growing border crisis," according to a press release from the governor's office.

"The Texas National Guard is loading Blackhawk helicopters and C-130s and deploying specially trained soldiers for the Texas Tactical Border Force, who will be deployed to hotspots all along the border to help intercept and repel large groups of migrants trying to enter Texas illegally. The Texas Tactical Border Force will bolster our Operation Lone Star efforts to secure the Texas border amid the chaos caused by President Biden's elimination of Title 42."

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Yet the surge of migrants has not happened. The Border Patrol had 28,717 migrants in custody last Wednesday — the day before the policy was lifted — and by Sunday, the number had decreased to 22,259, the AP reported.

Earlier this month, a 17-year-old Honduran boy died at a holding center in Safety Harbor, Florida. His mother told the AP that he had epilepsy since he was a child.

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