There have been five child deaths in the past six months of the Trump administration.
A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died at a Border Patrol station in Texas on Monday, becoming the fifth immigrant child since December and the second in a week to die while in U.S. custody. The child was apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley on May 13, and the cause of his death, only a week later, is still unknown.
Last week, a two year-old boy from Guatemala died in U.S. custody about a month after he and his mother were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The spate of five child deaths in six months coincides with Trump calling for stricter and increasingly cruel immigration policies.
A recent disturbing report revealed that Trump made demands for a new border wall to be painted black in order to burn the skin of those who touch it, with spikes installed that could cut open hands.
A report from earlier in May showed Trump also plotted to arrest thousands of immigrants across the country in an effort to scare away other families from attempting to come to the United States.
Trump is not above playing politics with the lives of immigrant families. He toyed with the idea of busing hundreds of immigrants a month to Democratic-leaning counties in Florida. In Trump's mind, an influx of immigrants is a punishment even though polling shows the vast majority of Americans believe diversity makes the country stronger.
"Their purpose is to turn prejudice into policy," Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) told Shareblue Media in April when the media revealed Trump was trying to bypass court to deport immigrants more quickly. "We are a country of laws, and a country of immigrants, and I will not let Trump's bigotry undo either."
Any crisis at the southern border has been encouraged and worsened because of Trump's efforts, experts recently told Politico.
"Through misguided policies, political stunts and a failure of leadership, the president has created the conditions that allowed the asylum problem at the border to explode into a crisis," three former officials with Customs and Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, or both, wrote.
Trump refuses to hide his racist animosity toward immigrants in both rhetoric and policy, and now a fifth child is dead on his watch.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.