6-month-old girl in critical condition after she and her father illegally crossed southern border: Federal official

The infant and her father were detained with 21 other people, officials said.

August 25, 2019, 5:05 PM

A 6-month-old girl is fighting for her life in a Texas hospital after she and her father illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with a group of migrants, federal officials said.

The baby is being treated at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she is in critical condition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the young girl and her father during this difficult time," CBP officials said in their statement.

PHOTO: The Rio Grande, which serves as the U.S.-Mexico border, is seen near Los Ebanos, Texas, July 30, 2019.
The Rio Grande, which serves as the U.S.-Mexico border, is seen near Los Ebanos, Texas, July 30, 2019.
Loren Elliott/Reuters

U.S. Border Patrol agents came upon the infant and her father at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, about three miles west of the Roma Port of Entry, officials said. The father and daughter had just crossed the Rio Grande into the U.S. from Mexico with a large group of migrants, officials said.

The father and baby were part of a group of 21 people apprehended shortly after they crossed the border, officials said.

CBP officers initially took the baby and her dad to the Edinburg Regional Children's Hospital in Edinburg, Texas, where doctors examined the infant and determined that she needed to be transferred by air ambulance to Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"Since there was no more space in the helicopter, CBP officers drove the child’s father to the hospital to be with his daughter where she continues to receive medical care," the CBP statement reads.

CBP officials declined to release more information on the child's condition or comment on her diagnosis.

In June, Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, were found dead and lying face down on the edge of the Rio Grande near Brownsville, Texas, after they drowned while trying to cross the river from Mexico, authorities said.

Authorities said Martínez Ramirez had ferried his daughter to the U.S. side of the river before attempting to swim back get the child's mother. But as he started to swim back, the toddler jumped in after him and when he tried to rescue her, they were both swept away by the current, officials said.

In April, autopsy results were released on two children from Guatemala, ages 8 and 7, showing they died from bacterial infections in December while in U.S. custody. The deaths of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo prompted U.S. authorities to order additional medical personnel to remote parts of the border and step up screenings of young children that enter into government custody.

The Trump administration rolled out a new plan last week that would allow the government to detain migrant families traveling with children indefinitely, effectively calling for an end to the federal government's agreement with a court more than 20 years ago that it wouldn't hold children for long periods of time because it's so detrimental to their health.

The proposal is the latest move by President Donald Trump to try to curb an unprecedented tide of migration at the U.S.-Mexico border and raises questions about whether the administration has the capacity to care for families, which have been arriving in the tens of thousands each month. The move is expected to be challenged in court and could be blocked by a judge before it would have a chance to take effect.

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