CBP Statement on Infant Death in Rio Grande Valley, Texas
On Nov. 20, 2021 at approximately 7:15 p.m., a Border Patrol Agent assigned to the U.S. Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas, encountered a group of five migrants near the McAllen-Hidalgo Port of Entry at a location known as the “Store Road Gap”. The migrants turned themselves in to the Border Patrol agent after crossing the Rio Grande River. The Border Patrol agent started the initial field intake process of the migrants which consisted of asking for documents and providing the migrants a bag in which to place their belongings. None of the migrants requested medical attention at the time they approached the Border Patrol agent. Upon completing the intake process for the first five migrants, another group of at least ten migrants turned themselves in to the Border Patrol agent, who then began the intake process for them.
Approximately twenty minutes later, while processing the second group, the Border Patrol agent observed one of the migrants from the first group, a fifteen-year-old female citizen of Honduras, unwrapping her baby from a blanket and attempting to wake the baby. The Border Patrol agent asked the female if anything was wrong, and the female told the Border Patrol agent her baby was sick with a cough. The Border Patrol agent continued with processing the second group when she observed the female was still checking on the baby and was talking to another female from her group who was also checking the baby. The Border Patrol agent once again asked the female what was wrong and if the baby was okay and the female responded she was checking to see if her baby was breathing. The Border Patrol agent approached the female and observed the baby was wrapped in two blankets and was dressed in a onesie and was wearing a beanie.
The Border Patrol agent checked the baby’s cheek and chin which were warm, but the baby did not respond to her touch. The Border Patrol agent observed the baby’s fists were clenched and discoloration of the baby’s fingernails. The female informed the Border Patrol agent her seventeen-day-old son, a citizen of Mexico, was coughing and had not eaten all day. The Border Patrol agent immediately called a Supervisory Border Patrol Agent and requested a Border Patrol Emergency Medical Technician; however, there were no EMTs on duty. The supervisory agent requested that another Border Patrol agent transport the mother and baby to the hospital. At approximately 7:42 p.m., due to the urgency of the situation and to ensure clear communications, another Border Patrol agent called 911 via cell phone and requested Emergency Medical Services for the baby. To ensure the baby received medical treatment as quickly as possible, the Border Patrol agent transported him and his mother in a Border Patrol vehicle approximately four-and-half miles to a convenience store located on Military Highway and 10th Street, in McAllen, Texas, to meet EMS.
At approximately 7:45 PM, the McAllen Fire Department arrived at the convenience store and attempted to resuscitate the baby. At approximately 7:50 p.m., Med Care EMS arrived at the location and joined efforts to resuscitate the baby. Med Care EMS subsequently transported the baby and his mother to the Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen, TX.
At approximately 8:21 p.m., the baby arrived at Rio Grande Regional Hospital where medical personnel continued life saving measures. Approximately nineteen minutes after arriving at the hospital, the baby was declared deceased by medical personnel.
The Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility are reviewing the incident. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was also notified of the incident.