A 2-and-a-half-year-old boy from Guatemala is believed to have died after being apprehended on Tuesday at the US-Mexico border.
The boy had been hospitalized several weeks before his death, the Washington Post reported Wednesday evening, citing the consul of Guatemala, Tekandi Paniagua, and another person aware of the case.
Paniagua said the toddler was in American custody for three days and appeared to have contracted pneumonia, but that his death was still under investigation.
A customs and border protection officer (CBP) aware of the case told The Hill that border police officers had met the boy and his family on April 3 and that on April 6, the boy's mother had told the officers that he was sick. The CBP official said the boy had been taken to Providence Hospital in Horizon City, Texas that day and had been transferred to Providence Children's Hospital in El Paso (Texas) a day later.
On April 8, the family was released upon his return. own commitment in the hospital and was no longer in custody.
The boy, who has not been identified, is the fourth child to die after an arrest at the border since December, reported the post office. All the children came from Guatemala.
"We reiterated the message that travel to the United States, in the state in which Guatemalan families undertake, is extremely dangerous," Paniagua told The Post in a statement. "We have seen four cases of children who have died in this way."
US authorities have said that the number of border crossings has increased in recent months. Nearly 100,000 people crossed the border in April. In March, CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said the situation had reached a "breaking point".