It’s happened again. Within days of a report of a toddler brought illegally across the U.S. border becoming ill and dying, the horrific scenario has played out again. And just as the mainstream media played up the first death as somehow the fault of Border Patrol agents who intercepted the child and her mother, the Washington Post, Vox, and other outlets are emphasizing the fact the child in this newest incident was in the custody of the Border Patrol at the time of her death.
Here’s the Post’s lede:
A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.
The child’s death is likely to intensify scrutiny of detention conditions at Border Patrol stations and CBP facilities that are increasingly overwhelmed by large numbers of families seeking asylum in the United States.
A little further on, the Post writers offer this:
The ACLU blamed “lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP” for the girl’s death. “The fact that it took a week for this to come to light shows the need for transparency for CBP. We call for a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths,” Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, said in a statement.
It is only after fixing blame for the child’s death on the deplorable conditions at detention facilities, with a tacit nod in the direction of the Trump administration, that the Post writers get down to reporting the facts, which seem to paint a different picture:
- More than eight hours after being intercepted by a CBP patrol, the child began having seizures.
- Emergency responders were summoned and determined that the girl was running a dangerously high fever of 105.7 degrees.
- It was further determined that the child “had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”
At this point, the child was airlifted to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso where she went into cardiac arrest and died.
The Post includes a statement by Andrew Meehan, a CBP spokesman, which reads:
Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child. Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstance. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.
In spite of all this, a day after its publication, the article retains its original headline, “7-year-old migrant girl taken into Border Patrol custody dies of dehydration, exhaustion,” and the same unfortunate slant.
The paper might have taken a cue from ABC affiliate KVIA, via the Associated Press, which headlined its own report “Guatemalan girl, 7, dies of dehydration after entering US illegally,” but this is probably a little too on-the-nose for the media’s liking in this anti-Trump era.