Congressional Hispanic Caucus Condemns Pattern of Migrant Children Deaths in DHS Custody, Calls for Investigation and Oversight

WASHINGTON — Today, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a press conference on the pattern of migrant children deaths in custody of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), following yesterday’s death of Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan immigrant. Five children have died in the last six months while in Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) custody or soon after being detained by immigration authorities. Below are remarks as delivered by Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus:

“Good afternoon everybody, thank you for joining us. I’m Joaquin Castro, Congressman from San Antonio, Texas and Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for this term. Yesterday morning, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez died in DHS custody—the fifth death in custody in the last six months. Five children are dead on the watch of the United States government during that time. Let that sink in for a minute.

This is outrageous and it’s unacceptable. Enough is enough.

Unfortunately we have limited information surrounding these deaths because the Administration has refused to answer many of our questions. What we do know is that these children were in U.S. custody and died while in custody or soon after in the hospital. This should set off many alarms.

Prior to the Trump Administration, CBP had not had a child die on their watch for over a decade. But now, under the Trump Administration, we’re seeing a pattern of death.

I’ve been to the border, as have the other members of the other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and many members of this Congress. And I can tell you that DHS and HHS right now have set up a failed system that is often unprepared, neglectful, and has led to inhumane conditions at the border and in many cases now, death.

Instead of confronting this humanitarian situation, the Trump Administration has spent the last year investing time, money, and effort into a Border Wall, while neglecting the wellbeing of migrants and often neglecting the wellbeing of their own officers and agents.

For over a year, Congressional Democrats have been calling for investigations into the Trump Administration’s immigration agenda at the border and treatment of migrants. This year alone, they’ve cut aid to Central America. They’ve concealed the cruelty of their metering and Remain in Mexico agendas. Instead of responding to multiple requests from committees of jurisdiction of this Congress, the administration has stonewalled Congress, dismissed our concern, and doubled down on their cruel policies.


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