At least three migrant kids have died in part from the flu while under U.S. watch, but Customs and Border Protection will not be vaccinating detained families ahead of flu season, CNBC reports. “In general,” an agency spokesperson claimed, “due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody.”
Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Border Patrol isn’t supposed to detain kids for longer than 72 hours but the agency commonly defies this. One 17-year-old mom said this past June that she and her sick baby had been jailed for nearly three weeks at a facility in McAllen, Texas. She’d been afraid of getting her baby help out of fear they’d be stuck there even longer. “He feels frozen to the touch,” she said. “We are all so sad to be held in a place like this.”
“The U.S. had previously gone almost a decade without any children dying while under U.S. immigration custody,” CNBC continued. Earlier this month, a team of concerned Harvard and Johns Hopkins physicians called on Congress to further probe these senseless deaths, writing that "we suspect that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may not be following best practices with respect to screening, treatment, isolation, and prevention of influenza.”
“When I learned that multiple children had died in detention from potentially preventable causes, it truly disturbed me,” said Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a Harvard pediatrics professor. “The country needs urgent answers to that question so that children stop dying in detention. A child might start out with flu but then die of another infection.” It’s not just Border Patrol that’s a problem, either.
In her moving testimony to Congress last month, Yazmin Juárez said that she when she and her 19-month-old toddler Mariee were held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “no effort was made to separate the sick from the healthy.” Mariee was cleared as healthy when they arrived at a migrant family jail in Texas, but then became sick, too. The child languished without proper care for weeks, and was only released when her condition had become dire; she died in a hospital several weeks later.
Children do not belong in detention, period. And by refusing to take proper precautions and steps to ensure their well-being and safety while detained by officials, the Trump administration is not only letting kids die, it’s actively ensuring they die. This administration is killing brown children.