Lawmakers grill White House on migrant children deaths

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers want to know exactly what the Trump administration is doing to prevent the deaths of more migrant children in government custody.

Democratic lawmakers are also asking why there’s been a string of migrant children in government custody since 2018.

“No child had died in CBP custody for the entire decade before 2018,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

New Mexico Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small also questions whether the death investigations were appropriately handled.

“To only determine whether there was malfeasance by personnel and did not consider whether CBP’s policies and procedures are adequate to prevent migrant child deaths,” she said.

Dr. Alex Eastman with the Department of Homeland Security said the problems were caused by a massive increase in border arrivals.

“At times, nearly 400 percent — a number that would gridlock any conventional healthcare system,” Eastman said.

A Border Patrol official told lawmakers the agency did its best and that since last summer, new medical personnel, equipment and procedures have been added.

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Louisiana, says while unfortunate, the deaths of migrant children may be unavoidable.

“But for the sense of perspective, let me say that in 2017 alone 28,308 juveniles died in professional medical facilities in the United States,” he said.

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