Border Patrol did not conduct welfare checks on migrant boy who died in 2019, probe finds

U.S. Border Patrol did not conduct “common and frequent” welfare checks on a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant boy who died within the company’s custody in 2019, and no less than one agent reported checks that by no means occurred, an inner authorities probe discovered.

By failing to continuously monitor Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez throughout his keep inside a Border Patrol station cell in south Texas, U.S. brokers violated inner Customs and Border Safety coverage, the Division of Homeland Safety’s Workplace of Inspector Common concluded this week after a years-long investigation.

When he died in Could 2019, Hernández Vásquez, who crossed the southern border as an unaccompanied little one after leaving an indigenous neighborhood in Guatemala, grew to become the sixth migrant minor to die after getting into U.S. custody throughout a six-month interval beginning in December 2018. An post-mortem later decided the Guatemalan teenager died of the flu and issues from different infections.

On Friday, Democratic Consultant Bennie Thompson, chair of the Home Homeland Safety committee, urged the DHS Inspector Common to launch the investigation’s full report, saying the press launch issued by the watchdog previewed “deeply troubling failures” by CBP.

“It’s crucial that the OIG share its full closing report and CBP take corrective motion to assist guarantee a tragedy like this by no means happens once more,” Thompson mentioned. “The Committee might be persevering with its investigation into this matter, together with whether or not those that falsified information on this case have been held accountable.”

Carlos Hernandez Vásquez

CBS Information

In a press release, CBP confirmed it acquired the inspector common’s report earlier this week and that it was reviewing it to find out whether or not “further investigation” is required. The company additionally mentioned it has taken “substantial motion” to make sure migrants in its custody have entry to medical care.

“As soon as that course of is full, the OIG report might be referred to CBP administration for overview and analysis,” CBP added. “Ought to administration decide there was a violation of company coverage or CBP’s Requirements of Conduct, applicable corrective motion might be initiated in accordance with relevant legislation, rules, and collective bargaining necessities.”

The Justice Division declined to prosecute anybody after being introduced with the investigators’ findings, “citing a scarcity of any felony violations and a scarcity of felony intent,” the DHS inspector common mentioned.

The inspector common’s findings elevate additional questions on CBP’s actions earlier than Hernández Vásquez’s demise, in addition to the company’s preliminary public account of the incident, which garnered vital outcry.

Barring distinctive circumstances, CBP is required by legislation to switch unaccompanied youngsters to shelters overseen by the Division of Well being and Human Providers inside 72 hours of taking them into custody. Nonetheless, CBP brokers held Hernández Vásquez for every week, citing the sharp enhance in migrant apprehensions within the spring of 2019.

When reporting his demise, CBP mentioned Hernandez Vasquez was “discovered un-responsive” throughout a welfare test on the morning of Could 20, 2019. Nonetheless, video obtained by ProPublica in December of that yr confirmed that Hernández Vásquez’s immobile physique was found by his cellmate, one other unaccompanied migrant boy, who alerted border brokers.

Texas migrant facility suspends consumption


The video additionally steered that CBP brokers failed to watch or acknowledge the seen misery Hernández Vásquez endured throughout his closing, agonizing moments inside that concrete cell. 

Within the footage, which begins at 1:19 a.m., Hernández Vásquez might be seen coming from the bathroom space of the cell, the place the opposite boy is sleeping beneath a Mylar blanket. He seems disoriented.

After sitting, he might be seen mendacity down on his face on the concrete floor. Hernández Vásquez then will get up and strikes out of the digicam’s view for a number of minutes. At 1:24 a.m., the footage exhibits him collapsing face down on the ground.

At round 1:36 a.m., Hernández Vásquez will get again up one final time and walks in direction of the cell’s rest room earlier than seeming to break down, this time on his again. {The teenager} might be seen transferring his legs and arms. By 1:39 a.m. his physique appeared immobile. 

ProPublica mentioned the footage cuts off at round 1:47 a.m, with a four-hour hole earlier than the footage begins once more at round 5:48 a.m. At the moment, Hernández Vásquez’s immobile physique seems to be in the identical place and place. 

The opposite migrant boy within the cell wakes up at 6:05 a.m., discovers Hernández Vásquez’s physique and goes to the cell door to get the eye of officers exterior.

In its abstract this week, the inspector common mentioned an unbiased medical expert categorized Hernández Vásquez’s explanation for demise as “pure from H1N1 and bacterial/staph infections, which might have resulted in a quickly deadly end result, even with rapid and applicable remedy.”

Representatives for the workplace of the inspector common didn’t reply to a request to supply the total report on Hernández Vásquez’s demise.

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