By Danielle Wallace
Published May 22, 2019
U.S. border agents temporarily closed a main processing center for migrants in southern Texas Tuesday, one day after authorities said a 16-year-old from Guatemala died after being diagnosed with the flu at the facility.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it stopped detaining migrants at its Centralized Processing Center (CPC) in McAllen, Texas, after a large number of migrants in custody came down with high fevers and other flu-like symptoms.
“To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the CPC,” the agency said in a statement to Fox News. “Individuals apprehended in RGV Sector will be held at other locations until this situation is resolved."
Border agents announced Monday that a 16-year-old boy from Guatemala died after being detained at the facility for six days, twice as long as generally allowed by U.S. law. After being diagnosed with the flu on Sunday, Carlos Hernandez Vasquez was transferred to a smaller Border Patrol station, where he was found unresponsive Monday.
He was the fifth minor to die after being apprehended by border agents since December.
Advocates demanded that President Donald Trump's administration act to safeguard those in detention centers.
The U.S. government has faced months of scrutiny over its care of children apprehended at the border. A 2-year-old child died last week.
After the deaths of two children ages seven and eight in December, the DHS ordered medical checks of all children in its custody and expanded medical screenings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.