A 16-year-old boy from Guatemala died in U.S. custody Monday morning, one week after he was apprehended in South Texas, authorities with U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed in a statement.
The boy, whose name was not released, is the fifth Guatemalan migrant known to have died since December after being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Officials said the 16-year-old was apprehended and processed May 13 near Hidalgo, Texas, after he entered the country illegally. Authorities said he was transferred Sunday from the Rio Grande Valley Sector’s Central Processing Center to the Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas, ahead of a planned placement with the Heath and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement.
He was found unresponsive Monday during a welfare check, officials said.
“The men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family,” Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders said in a statement. “CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody.”
The Border Patrol has faced months of scrutiny over its care of children it apprehends at the border. Last week, authorities said a 2-year-old boy died after he and his mother were detained at the border. Authorities said he was diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized for about a month before his death, according to The Associated Press.
Authorities are also investigating the April 30 death of Juan de Leon Gutierrez, a 16-year-old migrant from Guatemala who died after officials at a Texas youth detention facility noticed he was sick. His cause of death remained unclear Monday.
In December, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died of dehydration and septic shock two days after she was taken to a Border Patrol station, CNN reported. The news network reported 8-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo died of flu complicated by sepsis weeks later, on Christmas Eve, while he was in U.S. custody. Both children were from Guatemala.
Trump administration officials have said they have passed a "breaking point" in the immigration detention system, with the numbers of parents and children crossing the border dramatically exceeding the capacity at facilities.
That strain is particularly acute in the Rio Grande Valley, which has more unauthorized border crossings than any other region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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