Don’t Let Another Child Die in Border Custody

Target: Mark Green, Chair of U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security

Goal: Strengthen healthcare access and end health discrimination against detainees.

An eight-year-old girl complains of stomach pain, coughing, and congestion. She is reportedly given medication and sent away. Some time later, the now vomiting girl is again taken to medical personnel by her concerned mother. The girl is apparently given more pills, told to drink water, and sent away. At least half a dozen more times over the next few days, this girl is brought in again, with her symptoms seemingly progressing to include difficulty breathing and a fever of almost 105 degrees. An on-site pediatrician is reportedly never consulted, nor are the professionals who could tell personnel that the girl in question has a preexisting heart condition as well as sickle cell anemia. A nurse practitioner, however, does allegedly deny the pleading mother’s request to have her daughter taken to a hospital three or four times.  By the last visit, the girl is reportedly in the throes of a seizure. By the time she finally arrives at the hospital, she is pronounced dead.

That this series of events took place in America might shock and horrify many. That it reportedly unfolded in an immigrant detention facility should in no way lessen the horror. In fact, the reality that so many refugees face–refugees who are fleeing from one nightmare only to find themselves in another in what they thought was the land of opportunity– should compound the outrage. Just a week prior to this tragedy, another detained child (this time, a 17-year-old boy) died while in custody. And some time ago, a Congressional report detailed allegations of longstanding healthcare negligence (denied medications and punitive, mocking denial of care) in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) jails.

All of the troubling incidents and investigations have led to no meaningful action, however. Sign the petition below to demand leaders ensure refugees and immigrants are no longer treated like sub-humans.


Dear Representative Green,

Many politicians wax poetic about how they want to protect the children. Yet in this country, an eight-year-old girl died after a week of allegedly being denied adequate medical care for influenza. This child and her mother were reportedly refused access to a hospital even after the girl complained of difficulty breathing and her fever spiked to over 104 degrees. Does the fact that the girl was a detainee in a Customers and Border Patrol facility disqualify her from basic American empathy and aid?

She is one of many young people who have reportedly fallen victim to a severely lacking and at times allegedly grossly negligent system of care for refugees and detainees. The very committee you chair issued its own condemnation of ICE healthcare in 2020. Each human being should have the right to be treated like a human being. If you truly care about all children, you will introduce and fight for legislation that affirms a higher standard of healthcare for detained immigrants.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto


  1. I really am appalled at the US what have they got to be so proud about. The atrocities committed, the capitalist society they seem proud of. Whatever happens dont be poor in America or become ill, you will die if you have no insurance, what??? Evil country, evil politicians sipping the blood from the poor man. The rich cloak of America is tarnished and cruel.

  2. If these people weren’t illegally coming over to begin with this wouldn’t have happened, the US isn’t responsible for the world and the people who live in crap countries… we have our own problems….

  3. America is responsible for those immigrants who come into our country in the legal manner. Those people need health care. Their children matter. Many of the kids of immigrants who were illegally in America have grown up here, were educated here, and have been a positive influence in this country!
    I don’t know much but what I do know is each child counts. Each child matters. If America can’t take care of those allowed in then we must all less to enter. Once inside America they become our responsibility. Kindness and compassion go a long way, always.

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