A 2-year-old boy from Guatemala, apprehended with his family at the southern border, died in Texas on Tuesday after being released from U.S. custody at a hospital near the border, a Guatemalan official confirmed to ABC News.
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The death comes as authorities continue to raise warnings about the dangerous conditions faced by thousands of migrants traveling to the U.S. through Mexico.
“It’s a very dangerous way to come and that’s what we try to communicate with the public,” said Rosario Ovando, a Guatemalan consulate official. “You’re putting your children in danger.”
Last year Border Patrol recorded 283 migrant deaths along the southern border.
The boy and his family were arrested by U.S. authorities after crossing the border in El Paso, Texas, several weeks ago, according to a Customs and Border Protection official.
After three days in CBP custody, the boy’s mother told border agents he was sick and the family was taken to the hospital outside El Paso where he was diagnosed with pneumonia.
The family later moved to another hospital where U.S. border patrol released them from custody and provided them an order to appear in court.
The Washington Post was first to report news of the boy’s death.
The Guatemalan government is assisting the boy’s mother while she decides whether to continue the U.S. immigration process, Ovando told ABC News.
“We’re very concerned about the psychological effects of all this,” she said.
Most deaths last year occurred away from urban centers like El Paso and San Diego. CBP officials say human smuggling operations target rural areas to evade authorities. Nearly 100 migrants died in the Rio Grande Valley near McAllen, Texas, last year.