McALLEN (Texas) (AP).-- The mother of a 8-year old girl who died while in Border Patrol custody claimed that agents ignored her pleas for her daughter to be hospitalized as she was in pain, struggling to breathe, and unable to walk.
Mabel Alvarez Benedicks, in a tearful phone interview, said that agents told her that the diagnosis of influenza for her daughter did not warrant hospitalization. The girl was known to have a history with heart problems and sickle-cell anemia.
The mother stated, "They killed my child because she had been unable to breathe for nearly a full day and a quarter." "She cried for her life, and they ignored it. They did nothing for her.
According to her mother, the girl died on Wednesday after spending nine days in Border Patrol custody. The agency's policy states that people should not be held for more than 72-hours. This rule is often broken during times of unusually high traffic.
This account will almost certainly raise questions as to whether Border Patrol handled the situation properly. It is the second death of a child in just two weeks, after an influx of illegal border crossings severely stretched holding facilities.
Roderick Kise is a spokesperson of Customs and Border Protection (the parent agency for Border Patrol). He said that he was unable to comment on anything beyond the an
Because the death was still under investigation. CBP stated that the girl had a'medical emergency' in a Harlingen, Texas station and later died at a hospital.
Alvarez Benedicks (35), said that she, her husband, and their three children, ages 14, 12, and 8, crossed into Brownsville, Texas on May 9, with the help of their family. Anadith Reyes Alvarez was diagnosed with influenza by a doctor on May 14, and the family was taken to the Harlingen Station. The family's detention was not clear.
Anadith's mother said that Anadith had a fever, headache and a bad smell in the Harlingen Station.
She said that when she told an agent about her daughter's pain, he replied, "Oh, your child is growing up." Her bones are hurting because she is growing up. Give her some water.
Alvarez Benedicks replied, "I looked at him." "How could he possibly know what to do, if he is not a physician?"
A doctor had told her that the pain she was experiencing was caused by influenza. She requested an ambulance to transport her daughter to hospital due to breathing problems, but was refused.
She said, "I felt they didn't trust me."
Her mother reported that Anadith was given saline liquids, a bath and fever medication in order to lower her temperature. However, the breathing problems continued. She also said that she had a sore mouth, which prevented her from eating, and stopped walking.
Alvarez Benedicks reported that a doctor had asked the parents to come back if Anadith fainted. When her blood pressure level was measured on Wednesday, the parents' request for an ambulance again was denied.
Her mother stated that an ambulance was called after Anadith became unconscious and lacked blood in her mouth. She claims that her daughter did not have any vital signs at the Border Patrol station prior to leaving for the hospital.
The family, who is currently staying in a migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas and are seeking money for the transportation of their daughter's remains from McAllen to New York City. This will be their final destination within the United States.
Anadith was born with congenital cardiac disease in Panama to parents who are Hondurans. Her mother described her surgery as successful three years prior. Anadith was inspired to become a physician.
It was a week before her death that a 17-year old Honduran boy named Angel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza died while in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He was travelling alone.
The rush to the border in order to meet Title 42's pandemic asylum limit brought about extraordinary pressure. Border Patrol arrested 10,100 people on average a day last week. This compares to an average daily number of 5,200 back in March.
According to a court document, the Border Patrol held 28,717 people on May 10 - a day before the pandemic asylum restriction expired - which was twice as many as two weeks prior. On Sunday, the number of people in custody had dropped by 23%, to 22,259 - still a historically high figure.
According to a document from the government last year, custody capacity is around 17,000 people. The administration has added temporary giant tents, like one that opened in San Diego in January and had room for 500 people.
On Sunday the average time spent in custody was 77.
This report was written by Elliot Spagat, a writer for the Associated Press in San Diego.