Merkley calls for investigation into death of migrant teen in U.S. custody

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has formally called on the Department of Health and Human Services to open an investigation into the death of a migrant child held in U.S. custody.

“I write with great sadness and urgency to request a thorough investigation regarding the death of a third young unaccompanied child while in the care of the U.S. immigration detention system,” Merkley wrote.

In this case, a 16-year-old unaccompanied boy from Guatemala was repeatedly transferred between local hospitals and the Southwest Key Casa Padre facility in Brownsville, Texas, until his death on April 30, 2019.

This news is extremely disturbing and Americans are rightfully alarmed by yet another child’s death while under our government’s custody.

The teen’s death is the third death of a migrant in U.S. custody in the last 6 months, according to Merkley.

Merkley said two other children from Guatemala — Jakelin Caal, 7, and Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8 – died in U.S. Border Patrol custody in December 2018.

The Oregon Democratic asked Health and Human Services to provide an update to Congress by May 16.

“We can all agree that this death should never have happened,” Merkley wrote, “and we must take immediate action to ensure other children do not suffer the same fate.”