Texas opens investigation of reported immigrant child deathAugust 9, 2018 9:43pm

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas child welfare officials Thursday opened an abuse and neglect investigation into reports that surfaced last week of a child dying after being released from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility.

The announcement came shortly after Texas officials appeared frustrated during a public hearing with lawmakers, saying immigration attorneys making the allegations had still not provided the child's name and were being unresponsive. Hours later, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said it was given the name needed to launch an inquiry.

It becomes the 52nd child abuse and neglect investigation at a Texas facility housing immigrant children since December. None of the roughly 40 completed so far have been substantiated by state child welfare investigators, and the others remain ongoing.

Reports of a child dying after leaving an ICE family detention center in Dilley, Texas, had been widely shared on social media and inflamed the debate over immigration and the Trump administration's crackdown at the border. But details have been sparse, and both Texas and ICE had said they needed a name and specifics to fully look into the reports.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said it finally received a name after the agency's commissioner, Hank Whitman, made a public plea Thursday morning to attorneys for the family during a Texas House committee meeting.

"If he's saying a child has been injured or died from injuries in there," Whitman said, "I'm going to put my law enforcement hat on right now. I need to know the name of that child so we can investigate that thoroughly."

The family is being represented by the Washington-based law firm Arnold & Porter. The firm said in a statement after the hearing that it provided requested information and was "cooperating fully" with Texas child welfare investigators.

No other details about the case were provided with the announcement. The law firm said earlier this week that a small child died "after being detained by ICE in unsanitary conditions" at Dilley. It has not elaborated, and ICE officials Thursday disputed the characterization that the 2,400-bed facility was dirty.

"It's a clean facility," said Daniel Bible, field office director for ICE's San Antonio sector, which includes Dilley. "Everything is cleaned and reviewed. We have people on site daily that go through to make sure that sanitary conditions are kept, even with hygiene with people, we have case managers that talk to people that make sure that they themselves are keeping clean."

Texas issues child-care licenses to immigrant detention facility that house children. State officials said they do not have the discretion to deny licenses for new facilities if the operators meet the requirements.

___

Associated Press Writer Will Weissert in Dilley, Texas, contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP's immigration coverage here: https://apnews.com/tag/Immigration

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, discusses the release of the 40th statewide investigating grand jury clergy sex abuse report that identifies 59 religious leaders in his diocese, during a press conference in Scranton, Pa., on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018,. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP)
Bishops accused of brushing off sexual abuse complaints
FILE - In this June 20, 2018 file photo, the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center is shown in Staunton, Va.  Virginia investigators say they’ve found no evidence of abuse at a detention facility after immigrant teens described being strapped to chairs with their heads covered with bags. The investigation found the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center does use restraint chairs on “out-of-control” residents considered a safety threat, but that doesn’t meet the legal threshold of abuse or neglect.  (AP Photo/Zachary Wajsgras)
State probe finds immigrant teens not currently being abused
FILE - In this June 25, 2018, file photo, Jordanian immigrant Ali Mahwood-Awad Irsan sits in court in Houston. Jurors on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, sentenced Irsan to death for the 2012 fatal shootings of his son-in-law and daughter's best friend in what prosecutors described as "honor killings." (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)
Jordanian immigrant gets death for Houston 'honor killings'
Court: Ex-federal immigration lawyer can be sued for forgeryA U.S. appeals court says a former federal immigration lawyer who forged a document in an effort to get a man deported can be sued for damages
Jury deliberates on life or death for Jordanian immigrantTexas jury deliberates whether Jordanian immigrant convicted in what prosecutors describe as two 'honor killings' will receive a death sentence or life in prison without parole
Various items litter the kitchen of a makeshift living compound in Amalia, N.M., on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, where five adults were arrested on child abuse charges and remains of a boy were found. The remains, which haven't been positively identified, may resolve the fate of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, a missing, severely disabled Georgia boy. Eleven other children were found at the compound during a raid last week.  (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
The Latest: New Mexico defendant in immigration custody
This component is currently unavailable.
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices