Child Who Died in CBP Custody Didn't Get Medical Attention for 90 Minutes


A migrant girl who died in the care of Customs and Border Patrol waited around 90 minutes after first showing symptoms before receiving any form of serious medical attention.

The death of the girl, since identified as seven-year-old Jackeline Caal, has become the latest example of the very real human cost of the U.S. government’s racist and cruel immigration policies. NBC News was the first to report the story.

NBC reported that, after turning themselves in to CBP officials near Antelope Wells, NM, Caal’s father notified staff of his daughter’s illnesses before the pair were placed on a CBP bus. However, despite the father’s warnings, his daughter spent an hour and a half on the bus without any medical care. She was found not breathing when the trip was over, and later taken to a hospital in El Paso, TX, where she died after several resuscitation attempts.

In a statement to NBC News, a Department of Homeland Security official said that “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring.”

In a statement released to the media, CBP admitted that that the child’s father notified agents that Caal was sick just prior to departure from a remote holding facility to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station at 5 a.m. According to CBP, agents notified the station that there was a sick child on the way, but the area was so remote that Lordsburg was the best place to treat her. By the time the bus arrived at around 6:30 a.m., Caal was not breathing.

CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said in a separate statement that the agency “will review the incident operationally to learn from this tragedy.”

The extended stretch of time between when Caal’s father apparently raised the issue of his daughter’s failing health, and when she was actually attended to by medical professionals raises questions about both CBP’s response in this specific instance, and its ability to adequately care for those in their custody in the first place.

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