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Responding to news reports of the death of a Guatemalan toddler who fell ill after being taken into custody at a Customs and Border Protection facility in El Paso, Ashley Houghton, tactical campaigns manager at Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement:

“The tragic news of this little boy’s death comes as the Trump Administration is intensifying its cruelty toward people seeking safety at the Southern border. There must be an independent investigation into the child’s death to ensure the safety of all children. But no matter what an investigation finds, it cannot be denied that warehousing people seeking their legal right to asylum in crowded and unsanitary conditions is dangerous and cruel. This is a tragedy, but it is not a surprise.

“The Trump Administration is deliberately making it as difficult as possible for families to seek safety and willfully imposing unbearable conditions on those who do. The death of yet another child following placement in U.S. custody should be a wake-up call for anyone with a conscience to stop these policies of so-called deterrence, and institute policies that respect human rights.”