Sick Honduran Toddler Admitted Into US after Hours-Long Wait
BROWNSVILLE – A 2-year-old girl from Honduras is recovering from an undisclosed illness in the United States.
The child was allowed into the country after spending hours in the cold waiting for permission to cross into Brownsville.
She and her family were sent to Matamoros in August as part of the Migrant Protection Protocols, or the “Remain in Mexico” program.
Not all migrants have to stay in Mexico under the rule. Certain exemptions exist to allow them to stay in the U.S. instead.
The process to get exemption can be lengthy even when minutes matter.
Immigration attorney Jodi Goodwin is got into her car to head to the Gateway International Bridge late Wednesday night.
Goodwin has brought in migrants requesting they be processed expeditiously due to emergencies.
“I think the shortest time that it's ever taken me to be able to run the gauntlet of CBP supervisors was about an hour," said Goodwin.
This night, it would take longer.
"I can't believe they let this baby sit up there on the bridge for three and a half hours in this cold weather and they have an empty lobby,” Goodwin said. “They could've at least brought the baby in out of the cold. When their own medical team came out and evaluated her on the bridge."
Customs and Border Protection eventually processed and released the child into the U.S.
Walking out of the processing station cradling blankets, a look of concern colored the face of an Honduran mother and father.
No ambulance was called. Volunteer attorneys and a doctor use their cars to take the 2-year-old to the hospital.
The girl’s stomach was distended. Her hands and feet swelled earlier that day. A doctor who evaluated her on the Mexican side feared a septic shock was imminent.
A short eight-minute drive to the hospital and things began looking much better.
The little girl is alert, eating a pizza and later a Happy Meal. Her family had not eaten that day.
CBP sent a statement about the incident saying:
"Agents and officers implementing the MPP program are directed to review arriving individuals for known physical or mental health conditions or the potential to face persecution or torture in Mexico. All factors need to be considered, including whether the status of the particular medical condition and the immediate health of the migrant at the time of encounter is something requiring immediate medical attention."
They did not address the long wait time or why the child was not brought indoors.
Goodwin is asking for weather temperatures and urgency be considered next time, instead of keeping unwell migrants waiting in inclement weather.
The family was taken off MPP following this incident and can wait for their immigration proceedings in the U.S.