Senator Rick Scott visits the Safety Harbor refugee shelter where a Honduran teenager died
SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) — A day after Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) sent a letter asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for responses to the death of a teenage migrant being held in federally-contracted shelters agency officials brought him in on Saturday to see conditions for themselves.
“I saw nothing that would lead you to believe that anything ever went wrong at this facility,” Senator Scott said. “But a child died. They must be transparent. You have to tell us exactly what happened.”
While the senator said HHS gave him few details, the Honduran government is sharing more information about the day the boy died.
Angel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza, 17, had been at the Gulf Coast Jewish Community and Family Services shelter for just five days before he was found unconscious on Wednesday and taken to Mease Countryside Hospital.
According to a statement from the Honduran government, the boy was pronounced dead after 9 a.m. after attempts to revive him lasted an hour
“When a child is in the care of our government, we expect them to be healthy and safe,” Senator Scott said.
A statement from HHS said it is reviewing the Honduran teenager’s medical records while the local medical examiner conducts an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The mother of the teenage migrant in Honduras told the Associate Press that to her knowledge her son had not been ill. She said he hopes to be reunited with his father, who left Honduras for the US years ago, and that he wants to “live the American dream”.
His death in the Tampa Bay area comes amid growing concerns about the surge in frontier workers after COVID-era asylum restrictions known as Title 42 expired this week.
“The House of Representatives just presented the Senate with a really tough border policy, and we hope this administration will stop playing politics with people’s lives,” Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Florida) said after joining Senator Scott for the Tour of the animal shelter.