Prosecutors: border patrol agent sent racist texts

A 16-year-old boy died Monday at a Border Patrol station in Texas, becoming the fifth child from Guatemala to die since December after being apprehended by U.S. border patrol agents.

Bowen's defense attorney is not denying that the texts were sent, but instead argued that this type of behavior was "commonplace throughout the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, that it is part of the agency's culture, and therefore says nothing about Mr. Bowen's mind-set".

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is temporarily suspending intake at the McAllen Central Processing Center, the largest migrant processing center in South Texas, after the outbreak of what the agency calls "a flu-related illness". He was expected to be placed with Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement. His cause of death is not yet known.

"The men and women of US Customs and Border Protection are saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family", said Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders. The CBP official said that since December 22, the agency has been transporting about 69 individuals a day to higher-level care facilities, including urgent care and hospitals. To date, CBP officials said, the agency has released 40,000 family unit members with orders to appear in immigration court; ICE has released approximately 180,000 family unit members since December 21.

Immigration authorities have struggled to manage a record flow of migrant families and children crossing the southwestern border this year, including almost 45,000 unaccompanied children in the past six months.

According to court documents filed earlier this month, Agent Matthew Bowen sent a text message to a fellow agent in November of 2017 that described migrants as quote "mindless, murdering savages" who are "unworthy of being kindling for fire".

In April, a 16-year-old boy from Guatemala died after staff at an HHS facility noticed he was sick and transferred him to a hospital. U.S. Border Patrol began the flights over the weekend in an effort to help agents with the influx of illegals in Texas.

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Officials, at that time, were quoted as saying that the boy was suffering from very high fever and difficulty in breathing, and was later diagnosed with pneumonia at a children's hospital. But local immigrant advocates said this is the first time they've observed it happening this close to the Los Angeles area.

The incident happened less than a week following the death of a two-year-old child after he and his mother were detained by the Border Patrol.

The Border Patrol has released photos of adults and children lying in small, military-style tents or on the grass and pavement outside of two of its stations.

Officials say the increase in asylum seekers is straining their detention capacity at border entry points.

Most migrant families and children arriving at the southern border have traveled from Central America and are often exhausted and ill.

"It is risky and cruel to detain people, particularly children, in crowded and unsanitary conditions for seeking protection", the organization said.

  • Sonia Alvarado