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Migrant caravan: Guatemalan girl dies in US custody

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who illegally crossed the US-Mexico border with her father died hours after being taken into custody, US Customs and Border Protection has said.

The girl, who arrived in the US last week as part of a group of migrants, died of dehydration and shock, the Washington Post reported, citing the federal agency's officials on Thursday.

The girl suffered seizures after being detained last weekend along with her father at Lordsburg, New Mexico, and was taken by helicopter to a children's hospital in El Paso, Texas. She hadn't eaten or had anything to drink for several days, according to authorities.

In less than 24 hours after she was admitted, she suffered a cardiac arrest and later died, the Post reported.

The White House didn't respond to requests for comment.

"Border Patrol always takes care of individuals in their custody and does everything in their power to keep them safe," the Department of Homeland Security said late Thursday.

"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring," it was quoted as saying by Efe news.

The Border Patrol reported arresting a record over 107,000 immigrants travelling as families during the last budget year, which ended in September.

Migrants are generally given brief medical exams after their arrests. The agency said her father told authorities the girl was fine. The father remained in El Paso and was in contact with the Guatemalan consulate, the agency said.

The area where the girl and her father were arrested is a remote patch of desert in southern New Mexico where migrants can walk for hours or even days without being spotted.

Every year hundreds of migrants die trying to cross the Mexican border. During the 2017 budget year, 294 people died. In the El Paso Sector, which includes New Mexico, eight deaths were reported.

--IANS

soni/bg