The 10-Year-Old Migrant Girl Who Died In U.S. Custody Has Been Identified

Andrea González-Ramírez

The 10-year-old migrant girl from El Salvador who died in federal custody last September has been identified as Darlyn Valle. According to CBS News, Darlyn planned to make the journey from El Salvador to Omaha, NE, to reunite with her mother. But she was apprehended by Border Patrol halfway through, in Texas, in March 2018.

Darlyn, who had a history of congenital heart defects, was placed in an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facility in Texas. She underwent a surgical procedure and complications left her in a coma, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson Mark Weber. (HHS oversees ORR.) Darlyn was only brought to Omaha three days before her death, so she could spend her final moments with her mother. She passed due to fever and respiratory distress.

Her death was only disclosed to the public this week. Darlyn is one of six migrant children, all from Central America, who have died after being detained by the U.S. government over the past eight months. Before this period, no migrant child had died while in federal custody since 2010.

These deaths have intensified questions about conditions in immigrant detention centers and whether federal agencies are equipped to provide adequate medical care for its most vulnerable detainees. Several lawmakers have called for an investigation into the medical practices of the ORR and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In December, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez died in custody. In the past month alone, 16-year-old Juan de León Gutiérrez died following an infection, 2-year-old Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez died of pneumonia, and 16-year-old Carlos Hernandez Vasquez died of influenza.

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