USA border agents have temporarily stopped taking people into the primary facility for processing migrants in South Texas, a day after a 16-year-old diagnosed with the flu at the facility died.
Customs and Border Protection said in a statement late Tuesday that it would stop holding migrants at the center in McAllen, Texas, after agents found "a large number" of people suffering from high fevers.
Medical staff imposed the quarantine at the Centralized Processing Center in McAllen on Tuesday after a "large number" of detainees were found to have high fevers and symptoms of a flu-related illness.
'Medical staff are now working to provide all subjects with proper medical treatment'.
People detained in Rio Grande Valley will be held in other stations until the situation is resolved, it said. The McAllen processing center, a crowded warehouse-like building where detainees are held behind fencing and sleep on mats, is among the busiest facilities along the southern border.
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The McAllen center is the same one where a 16-year old Guatemalan boy died Monday. The teen, identified as Carlos Hernandez Vasquez, was apprehended near Hidalgo, Texas, on May 13 and transferred to the Weslaco Border Patrol Station Sunday.
The outbreak comes amid severe overcrowding problems at migrant detention facilities in South Texas and heightened scrutiny of the conditions within them, as five child migrants have died in USA custody since December. He was then taken to the McAllen facility, where he remained for a week, even though the law requires that unaccompanied minors be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours.
The three deaths followed the passing of two young Guatemalans in December: Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, died of sepsis, a bacterial infection, in an El Paso hospital in December, two days after she and her father were detained.
The U.S. government says a 16-year-old from Guatemala died at the Border Patrol station, becoming the fifth death of a migrant child since December.
Earlier this year Trump administration officials said the country's immigration system had reached a "breaking point" of illegal border crossings that have overwhelmed the system, especially in the Rio Grande Valley. "I would urge all of our colleagues, Republican and Democrat, who care about this issue, who care about the lives of these children, who care about a humane border policy, to join us in calling for an investigation into these deaths", said Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. A 2-year-old child died last week. Most who cross without authorization surrender to authorities and file for asylum.