OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
2:55 PM – Friday, May 12, 2023
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have confirmed on Friday that a migrant teen died while in American custody this week. This is reportedly the second of such migrant deaths in two months.
The migrant teen’s reported passing comes as the border’s Title 42 pandemic-era restrictions have expired. Title 42, the public health provision that allowed the U.S. to reject asylum and immigration applications for public health reasons, expired on May 11th. Senior U.S. officials feared that the repeal of Title 42 encouraged more immigrants to cross the border into the country in search of a better life.
The HHS has opened a medical investigation that began on May 10th, according to the White House, which acknowledged knowledge of the death on Friday.
“It is sad news. It is deeply saddening to hear. And we are certainly aware of the tragic loss,” Jean-Pierre said.
The migrant was identified as 17-year-old Honduran Angel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza by Honduras’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina, who said that the boy had been staying at a government-sponsored shelter called “Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community shelter” in Safety Harbor, Florida. Eduardo Reina, the foreign minister of Honduras, demanded that the incident be given an “exhaustive investigation.”
“The Government of Honduras, through the Embassy in Washington, is in contact with the family and has requested that [Office of Refugee Resettlement] and [United States Department of Health and Human Services] carry out an exhaustive investigation of the case to clarify this fact and, if there is any responsibility, apply the full weight of the law,” Reina said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told news media that that death was “deeply saddening.” In response to inquiries, the press secretary declined to provide any further details and suggested contacting the HHS.
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is deeply saddened by this tragic death on May 10 and our heart goes out to the family. A medical examiner investigation is underway,” a HHS spokesperson said in a statement. “The seventeen-year-old unaccompanied child from Honduras was referred to HHS care on May 5 and placed at the Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services in Safety Harbor, Florida,” the spokesperson said. “As is standard practice for any situation involving the death of an unaccompanied child or a serious health outcome, ORR’s Division of Health for Unaccompanied Children and UC Program Monitoring Team are closely reviewing the case.”
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