News Roundup: Girl’s Death In Border Patrol Custody Prompts Demands For Investigation

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 14, 2018 2:02 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A pair of Texas congressmen are calling for an investigation into the death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl in Border Patrol custody.

One of them is Democratic U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio.

The chairman-elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus told NPR’s Morning Edition today the death was not reported in a timely manner.

“So I think it’s important to realize that CBP commissioner, McAlennan, went in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 11th and didn’t say a word about this young girl.” Castro says.

Castro is referencing Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The girl crossed into the United States from Mexico illegally with her father last week as part of a group of about 160 migrants. They were apprehended on December 6 by Border Patrol officers in New Mexico. After the girl began having seizures, she was taken to an El Paso hospital, where she died from dehydration and shock. The Washington Post, which first reported the story, cites a CBP statement saying the young girl had not eaten or had water in several days.

Castro says it’s going to take a thorough investigation to find out what happened.

“I think it’s true that 163 people for a small border patrol station is a lot of people to deal with, but you’d also think you’d be able to identify somebody who was on the verge of death. So we’ve got to figure out whether she made requests for food or for water, for medical attention, and if so, whether those requests were answered or not in a timely way,” he says.

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso has also called for an investigation.

Saturday is the last day to sign up for health insurance through, the online marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Ashley Lopez, with KUT News in Austin, says it’s the last chance for people who don’t get health insurance through their employer, Medicaid or Medicare, to get coverage.

Groups helping people sign up for plans here in Central Texas say there’s been a slight uptick in enrollment in the past few days. Earlier during the enrollment period, groups were reporting a significant decrease in the number of people signing up. In the Austin area, people looking for coverage on the government website can pick from more than 30 different plans. More than 80 percent of people who bought plans last year qualified for financial assistance. According to experts, about 4 million people in the U.S. who are currently uninsured qualify for a free health plan through the website.

A report commissioned by Texas officials in the wake of Hurricane Harvey makes recommendations on how to prepare for future disasters.

Gov. Greg Abbott formed the Commission to Rebuild Texas after the historic storm, and picked Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp to lead it. Sharp presented the report at the Texas Capitol Thursday.

“What we think this will do is make the recovery part of it, or the response part of it, the best in the United States of America,” Sharp said.

The 178-page report recommends changes like streamlining applications for disaster relief and improving the debris removal process. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast in August 2017 as a Category 4 storm, dumping more than 50 inches of rain in some areas.