A 2-year-old Guatemalan boy who was apprehended by US border agents died on May 14 after being hospitalized in El Paso, Texas.
Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez and his mother were detained by Customs and Border Patrol Agents on April 3 near the Paso del Norte International Bridge, which connects Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas.
On April 6, the mother informed the agents her son was ill and he was taken to the Providence at Horizon hospital in Horizon City, Texas.
The family was given a summons to appear in immigration court on April 8 and was later released on their own recognizance from the hospital, so the family was no longer in custody of Customs and Border Patrol, according to officials.
According to family members, Wilmer’s mother traveled with Wilmer to the U.S. because he was severely sick and it was impossible to pay for health care in Guatemala.
“She fled the same desperation that [the boy’s father] fled. She fled too, and with a sick child. There was nothing else they could do,” Wilmer’s grandfather told Telemundo.
Wilmer was born in the same town where the Guatemalan military killed 140 indigenous Q’eqchi on May 29, 1978 after poor farmers and local workers marched to the city square demanding respect for land rights.
The region is coveted by Hanna Mining Company and a local subsidiary of JP Morgan for its large nickel deposits.
Immigrant advocates have been concerned about many issues people experience while being detained at the U.S./Mexican border including inadequate housing facilities, lack of medical treatment and diagnostics, overcrowding and dirty conditions.
In total, six migrant children have died while in custody at federal border patrol holding facilities, according to the Los Angeles Times.