Congolese woman seeking asylum with family dies at US-Mexico border, Texas agents say
A Congolese woman hoping to gain asylum in the United States with her family died at the Mexico border this week after falling ill in federal custody, authorities said.
The family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo reached the Gateway to the Americas Bridge in Laredo, Texas, on Christmas Eve, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Thursday in a statement on the woman’s death.
The woman, 41, handed over paperwork during a medical screening when she was processed, showing that she had a previous medical condition, according to CBP. On-site medical workers cleared the woman and she was moved to a Lincoln Juarez Bridge facility “for additional immigration processing and overnight holding,” agents said.
But early on Christmas morning, the woman alerted CBP officers that she was vomiting and suffering from abdominal pain while waiting for processing and release, so agents called for emergency medical services and she was hospitalized at Laredo Medical Center, authorities said.
The woman’s “health declined rapidly and she passed away at the hospital,” agents said.
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Citing the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office, federal officials said that it was “determined that the death is not suspicious, as the individual had a preexisting medical condition.”
The Associated Press reported that “according to information CBP gave members of Congress, the woman was diagnosed at the hospital with acute kidney failure. A congressional aide who spoke on condition of anonymity provided details to The Associated Press. CBP did not identify her illness in its public statement.”
Reached on Friday by email, a CBP spokesperson would not provide addition comment to McClatchy News, instead pointing to “Webb County for anything further regarding her passing.” The Weber County Medical Examiner could not immediately be reached for comment.
Agents said that “CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility was notified and is reviewing the incident.”
The woman’s husband and two children have been released from federal custody, AP reports, adding that “at least 11 people died this year after entering CBP’s custody, according to statements posted on the agency’s website.”
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