|On May 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a statement reporting on the investigation into the death of an 8-year-old girl in Border Patrol custody on May 17. According to media reports, the girl’s mother, Mabel Alvarez Benedicks, a Honduran Garífuna, claims that Border Patrol agents ignored her constant pleas for her daughter Anadith to be hospitalized.|
In light of this new tragedy, Alianza Americas, a multi-ethnic and multicultural network of 57 civil society organizations led by Latin American and Caribbean immigrants living in the United States of America, including Garifuna organizations, issues the following statement.
“We regret and condemn this new death that is the result of immigration policies focused on stopping the flow of people desperately seeking protection for their lives. Anadith and her family are new visible victims of the blocking of the right to seek asylum that the United States has promoted in recent years, which has resulted in a saturation in the attention of cases. We express our solidarity with this mother from our Garífuna community whom today suffers the loss of her daughter after begging for medical attention,” said Mirtha Colón, president of Casa Yurumein and Hondurans Against AIDS, both grassroots organizations serving the Garífuna migrant population in the Bronx, New York.
According to the mother’s statements to the press, Anadith died on the ninth day the family of five was in Border Patrol custody. This period violates an agency rule that states that people cannot be held for more than 72 hours. “This is a consequence of a punitive approach to migration. The United States should repeal immigration detention and redirect the funds it wastes on immigration detention to increase the capacity to care for asylum seekers at the border, providing them with medical, psychological, and humanitarian attention, in addition to investing in programs that allow them to integrate as soon as possible into the communities where they wish to settle,” added Colón.
Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central, and South America.