Lawmaker calls U.S. migrant policies resulting in deaths 'intentional'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 22, 2019 - Duration: 02:21s

Lawmaker calls U.S. migrant policies resulting in deaths 'intentional'

Democratic Representative Lauren Underwood on Wednesday said migrant deaths in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection were 'intentional' and a policy choice made by the Trump administration.

Kevin McAleenan, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, called her comments 'an appalling accusation' during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing.

Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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Lawmaker calls U.S. migrant policies resulting in deaths 'intentional'

Democratic Representative Lauren Underwood on Wednesday claimed border policies that have resulted in migrant deaths in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection were 'intentional' and a choice made by the Trump administration.

"Congress has been more than willing to provide you the resources and work with you to address the security and humanitarian concerns, but at this point with five kids that have died, five thousand separated from their families, I feel like and the evidence is really clear that this is intentional.

It's intentional.

It's a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration and it's cruel and inhumane," Underwood said.

Kevin McAleenan, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, called her comments 'an appalling accusation' during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday.

A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died on Monday in U.S. Border Patrol custody in Texas, U.S. officials said, making him the fifth Guatemalan minor to die after being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border since December.

The boy, Carlos Hernandez, was apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents on May 13 after crossing the border illegally near Hidalgo, Texas, with a group of 70 others, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol.

Early on Sunday morning, Hernandez told staff at the central processing station where he was being held that he was not feeling well, a CBP official told reporters.

He was diagnosed with the flu and transferred to the Weslaco Border Patrol Station in south Texas later that day to separate him from others at the processing station in the Rio Grande Valley, the official said.

He was due to be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the care of minor migrant children who cross into the United States without adult family members, the official said.

But on Monday morning, during a "welfare check," the boy was found unresponsive, according to a CBP statement.

The statement said the cause of death was not yet known, and that the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog and the Guatemalan government had been notified.

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