A 17-day-old infant perished at the border after his mother carried him across the Rio Grande as part of a group of illegal immigrants, Homeland Security said Tuesday.
The child had a cough and hadn’t eaten all day, his 15-year-old mother told the Border Patrol agent who apprehended them and was processing them Saturday near McAllen, Texas.
Agents say they tried to summon a Border Patrol EMT but none was on duty so they called the local rescue squad and rushed the mother and baby to meet them. The rescue squad tried to resuscitate the child, then the EMS squad took over and took the baby to a hospital in McAllen.
The child was declared dead at Rio Grande Regional Hospital at about 8:40 p.m., or about 85 minutes after an agent first encountered the mother and son.
The death is the latest tragedy of the current border surge, which turned fiscal 2021 into the deadliest in CBP records.
The baby was a Mexican citizen. The 15-year-old mother is Honduran.
According to CBP’s account, they were part of a group that crossed the river border and turned themselves in to an agent at 7:15 p.m. Saturday.
The agent was processing the group, which involved asking for documents and collecting their belongings, and she said none of the migrants asked for medical attention.
As she was finishing, another group of at least 10 migrants turned themselves in, and she began processing the second group. While doing that she observed the 15-year-old girl try to wake her baby, which had been in a blanket.
The agent asked whether everything was all right, and the mother said her son was sick with a cough.
The agent went back to processing the new group, but saw the mother and another female from the group still checking the baby.
The agent again asked what was wrong and they said they said they were checking to see if the child was breathing. The agent then checked and found the baby’s cheek warm, but the child wasn’t responding to touch.
It was at that point the mother said the baby had been coughing and not eating all day, and the rush to get medical help began.