Border Patrol Falls Short When It Comes to Caring for Children

( – Millions of migrants have come across the border in recent years, many of whom are looking for asylum. Kids are among those hoping to make a new life in the US. But a recent report indicates the federal government isn’t doing enough to ensure the children are okay.

In May, an 8-year-old girl, Anadith Danay Reyes Alvarez, from Panama, died while in Border Patrol custody. The child suffered from sickle cell anemia and a chronic heart condition. She had been in custody in the Rio Grande Valley for nine days when she passed away. An internal investigation into the little girl’s death found the agency’s medical staff refused to review the child’s file while she was in their care.

The Associated Press reported the probe was handled by an independent monitor who was put in place to ensure the agency was meeting the terms of the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, which is supposed to create a standard for children in Border Patrol custody. The report found the federal agency doesn’t have protocols in place to assess the needs of kids with preexisting health conditions.

In the case of Alvarez, the little girl’s mom, Mabel Alvarez Benedicks, told reporters that she informed officials about her daughter’s health conditions, but they didn’t tell the staff of the second facility the family was taken to. The child tested positive for the flu, and she and her mother made multiple visits to the medical unit, where the mother begged officials to call an ambulance. The healthcare provider at the detention center refused, and eventually, the child died.

The internal report found “poor clinical decision-making by the health providers” to be responsible for the child’s death. Troy A. Miller, the acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, stated the agency is taking “significant steps” to address the problems and ensure everyone receives “the best possible care.”

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