In response to an immigrant girl’s death while in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement explaining just how dangerous the trek to illegally cross the border actually is to people.
First reported by the Washington Post, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died after being taken into custody. According to people that traveled with her, she had not had anything to eat or drink for a couple of days:
According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in.
More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”
Despite being transferred to a hospital, the girl did not recover and died less than 24 hours later.
In a statement, DHS once again asked migrant parents to not put their children in harm’s way by taking them on the often-dangerous journey north.
“As we have always said, traveling north illegally is extremely dangerous,” their statement read. “Drug cartels, human smugglers and the elements pose daily risks to anyone who comes across the border illegally. Border Patrol always takes care of individuals in their custody and does everything in their power to keep them safe.”
DHS pointed out how Border Patrol often saves many migrants from death after being lost, abandoned by their guides, or being exposed to the desert for too long.
“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. Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely,” DHS’s statement added.
For the Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 fiscal year in 2017, Border Patrol reported there had been 294 migrants had died from trying to cross the border.