The media is subtly pinning another death on U.S. Customs and Border Protection, despite the fact that the man who died in their custody Monday had an irreversible degenerative disease.
According to a statement from CBP, a 45-year-old Mexican man was taken into custody in early February and was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure. The man died after spending most of his time in custody in the hospital.
Cirrhosis is a degenerative liver disease and in its advanced stages can only be treated by a transplant. CBP says the official cause of death is unknown.
Media outlets ran headlines suggesting the man died because he was taken into custody and immediately tied the incident to the recent deaths of two children in Border Patrol custody.
“Man dies in Border Patrol custody,” CNN’s headline about the story read, not noting until the fourth paragraph the man’s underlying medical conditions.
“Mexican national dies in Border Patrol custody after apprehension for ‘illegal reentry,'” said The Washington Post, immediately mentioning the deaths of the two children and claiming the man’s death is “likely to raise fresh questions.”
WaPo does not mention the man’s condition until the sixth paragraph and suggests the death is further proof that President Donald Trump created a humanitarian crisis at the border with his “zero-tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.
“Another death is likely to raise fresh questions for the border control organization at the forefront of that policy, especially as the president crusades for a wall at the southern border. Trump’s critics point to a humanitarian crisis fomented by his own hard-line approach, rather than a crisis of illegal entries that he falsely claims is overwhelming the Southwestern United States.”
ABC News titled an article about the incident, “Mexican man dies in Border Patrol custody after crossing US-Mexico border, third in as many months.”
“Third migrant dies in Border Patrol custody in as many months,” USA Today similarly wrote along with this caption on Twitter:
A migrant man died in Border Patrol custody on Monday, following the deaths of two Guatemalan children in the agency’s custody in December. https://t.co/XR8uMrFh1r
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 19, 2019
“Another Sick Migrant Dies in Border Patrol Custody in Texas,” The New York Times headlined their piece.
Despite the media’s efforts to make the three deaths into a trend of CBP misconduct, the deaths of the two children were also likely not preventable.
Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, the father of seven-year-old Jakelin Caal, said that he had no complaints with how his daughter was treated by Border Patrol. Caal did not show signs of distress until she boarded a bus for a 90-minute ride to a Border Patrol station and was later airlifted to a hospital.
The father of an eight-year-old Guatemalan child, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, who died in custody declined medical treatment after the child vomited. The child was previously given prescription medications for his illness and was transported to a hospital when Border Patrol agents noticed how sick he had gotten.