Accuracy in Media

For months the mainstream media blamed the Trump administration for not taking care of detained migrants in its detention facilities spread out across the American Southwest, in states such as New Mexico and Texas. But a recent inspector general’s report cleared the Border Patrol of misconduct this week, contradicting the media’s narrative.

In December 2018, a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Call Moquin, was taken into custody by the Border Patrol with her father at the U.S.-Mexico border. The girl and her father waited to be transported by bus to the nearest station, but by the time she got there, she was unresponsive and not breathing. EMTs revived her twice, and she was then transported to an El Paso, Texas hospital, where she passed away.

Also, in December 2018, eight-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo was taken into Border Patrol custody at a New Mexico border checkpoint. The Border Patrol noticed Felipe was sick and the father requested medical attention for the child. After receiving medication, his condition did not improve and he was sent to a hospital, where he passed away.

Both children died within days of being detained by the Border Patrol and the mainstream media criticized the Border Patrol for allegedly delaying medical examinations and care. The New York Times quoted Jakelin Moquin’s father, who said she was healthy until she suddenly fell ill and CNN quoted the family’s lawyers for the Border Patrol not having the necessary medical personnel at the border to treat Jakelin Moquin.

Despite the media’s allegations of wrongdoing, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security found no “misconduct of malfeasance” by local authorities in handling the children’s cases. In other words, the media was incorrect to conclude that the Border Patrol neglected to provide appropriate medical care to detainees, given the constraints of some of their remote locations far from medical staffers. Also, Associated Press reminded readers that the Border Patrol also suffered from overcrowded facilities due to the sheer number of migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border, which could make their job more difficult to sift through ill detainees and detainees in good health.

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