July 21, 2023
A Statement from Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
On May 17th, Anadith Danay Reyes Alvarez, a Panamanian 8-year-old girl, died while in Harlingen, Texas Border Patrol custody due to the negligence of her severe health conditions by agents. On July 18th, a report released by an independent federal court monitor confirmed Anadith’s tragic death was “clearly preventable.”
Anadith’s family is demanding justice and assurance that an incident like this will never happen again. NHMC is in solidarity with this call to action and shares the family's outrage at this latest failure of the U.S. immigration system.
The tragic and preventable death of young Anadith Danay Reyes Alvarez, whose pleas for medical aid were cruelly ignored by Border Patrol officials, underscores the monster of systemic discrimination being endorsed and empowered by the Governor Abbott of Texas.
NHMC urges President Biden to speak up and condemn Governor Abbott's inhumane treatment of children, and request a full investigation by The United States Department of Justice. This is a humanitarian issue that the United States can no longer ignore.
NHMC also demands that Border Patrol follow the recommendations listed in the Juvenile Care Monitor Report, and that the Biden Administration follow through on its commitment to ensure safe and humane migration.
According to Anadith’s parents, and reports from Border Patrol, Anadith was sick for four days before she was taken to a hospital. Her requests to be taken to a hospital were denied at least three times by the nurse contractor involved with her case, despite the fact that Anadith suffered from sickle cell anemia and heart disease, both of which were reported by Anadith’s mother. Border Patrol officials did not believe Anadith or her mother when they described the severity of her symptoms, and by the time she made it to the hospital, it was too late to save her life.
This failure to protect Anadith should not be seen as a rare fault in an otherwise effective institution. Rather, it was caused by “systemic weaknesses” that will continue to endanger the lives of all those in custody if they are not addressed. For this reason, Border Patrol must enact the recommendations listed in the Juvenile Care Monitor Report and safeguard the human rights of all migrants. We must also acknowledge that the U.S. immigration system, built on fear, suspicion, and racism, is deeply flawed. The Biden Administration has committed to starting the changes needed to unravel this heinous legacy and protect all migrants coming to the United States. We join other immigrant rights groups in calling on the Administration to deliver on this promise.
Yours in the Movement,
Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition