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Migrant child dies after crossing U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona

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(The Center Square) – A 9-year-old migrant child died at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona on June 17 after suffering from seizures at the United States-Mexico border.

The child was traveling with his mother and another child across the border in the Tucson sector, and the mother called 911 at night on June 15 saying her son was “experiencing seizures”, according to the press release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Border Patrol was tasked with finding where the family was located, and local and federal personnel had to respond “on foot.”

The release went on to give more details about the rescue, as a Tubac Fire Department EMS and Border Patrol agent were originally carrying the child back to an ambulance, but another agent with an ATV was able to finish transporting him to the vehicle. The child was first brought to Northwest Medical Center in Sahuarita and then flown to Mesa the following afternoon.

Before the child died, Banner determined he had “multi-organ failure” and he was placed on life support, the press release said. The press release added that the mother said that heat likely played a major factor. The high temperature in Sahuarita was 90 degrees on June 15, according to Accuweather.

As migrants continue to flow across the border, the summer desert heat is considered a top concern when it comes to the safety of people arriving. There have been over 210,000 migrant encounters in the Tucson sector in fiscal year 2023, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

“There’s no reason a 9-year-old should be out on that terrain, let alone, you know, anybody who’s not fully prepared for that type of hike,” Jobe Dickinson, president of the Border Security Alliance, told The Center Square.

“The current system that we have is just, it’s broken, and we need to fix it. This is one more reason,” he added.

Although this minor was accompanied, there are concerns being raised by lawmakers about the safety of children crossing the border as it relates to their health as well as human trafficking.

“We are deeply concerned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reportedly received warnings that unaccompanied children were being released from HHS custody into situations that presented a risk of labor exploitation and trafficking,” Democrat Sens. Dick Durbin and Alex Padilla wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccera on June 29.

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