The crisis at the southern U.S. border is intensifying, but it’s (still) not the security threat that President Donald Trump claims. This Monday, Customs and Border Protection revealed that a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy had died in their custody, having been discovered unresponsive during a morning welfare check. As of early Monday afternoon, there’s no word as to how the teen actually died, but the agency says they’ve initiated a review and notified outside interests with a stake in the situation like the Guatemalan government and members of Congress.
The boy had been due for transfer to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is responsible for handling cases of migrating children and teens. He’d been moved to the facility where he died just the previous day, although CBP didn’t say why. It’s not as though a random deadly condition could be expected to have rocketed to the surface and taken the teen’s life within the span of just some 24 hours.
Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders shared:
‘The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family. CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody.’
They are the fifth child or teen to die after being apprehended by Border Patrol just in the time since December. Most recently,
Amnesty International USA’s Ashley Houghton shared:
‘This death, which comes days after the administration released a proposal to make it even more difficult for people to seek safety in this country, leads us to wonder how many deaths it will take for the administration to ensure the safety and security of children. There must be an independent investigation into this child’s death.’
The new Trump administration policy that she notes was rolled out with a speech from the president at the White House last week. His team hopes to erase current system features like family-based migration, replacing it with a “points-based” system that prioritizes those for entry who can be financially self-sufficient and know English, among other things.
The plan has little chance of getting anywhere in Congress at present — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) derided the idea as not even a “serious” proposal that’s “dead on arrival.”
The issues are converging as asylum-seekers arriving at the border continue to grow in number. Trump has sought to paint the situation as a security crisis, and to that end, he wants to see his long-sought southern border wall go up and thousands of U.S. troops remain stationed at the border. In reality, there’s a clear humanitarian crisis that in practice, Trump is consistently ignoring if not also exacerbating.
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