Rep. Joaquin Castro has accused the Trump administration of covering up the death of a 10-year-old migrant child, and possibly others.
The passing of the El Salvadoran girl was left undisclosed by Health and Human Services officials until it was revealed by a CBS report last month.
Following the report, officials admitted she died of fever and respiratory distress last year after her release from a migrant facility in San Antonio.
“She was in custody for 7 or 8 months before she passed away, and they didn’t say anything for 7 or 8 months after that,” Castro, who represents the San Antonio area, said in a radio appearance on Friday.
The girl was the first of six known migrant children who have died in government custody or shortly after being released.
Castro said he believed her death was a cover-up because he previously asked Trump officials and former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen if any children had died or been seriously injured in government custody. Castro said Trump officials told him no, and Nielsen said not to her knowledge.
“They had months to tell the Congress about this young girl’s death, and didn’t do it for several months,” Castro said. “Next month we could find out that another person passed away last year.”
“There’s no doubt I think that they intentionally didn’t say something, whether or not there was a political element is quite possible,” Castro said.
The search for truth surrounding the unreported death of the migrant child and possibly others comes amid a worsening situation for apprehended minors in Texas.
On Wednesday, the Health and Human Services announced that they would be cutting funding for English classes, recreational programs and legal aid for detained migrant children.
In Texas, where five out of six migrant children have died, the Trump administration recently announced the opening of a massive new facility designed to house as many as 1,600 children.