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Immigration Rights Groups File Lawsuit to Gain Medical Records of 8-Year-Old Who Died in CBP Custody Last Year


May 17, 2024

Contact: Texas Civil Rights Project, 

Haitian Bridge Alliance, 


Texas Civil Rights Project and Haitian Bridge Alliance filed a FOIA lawsuit to obtain the records of Anadith Danay Reyes Álvarez from CBP

HARLINGEN, TX – Today, the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) and the Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain the medical records and other documents of Anadith Danay Reyes Álvarez, the 8-year-old girl who died while in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody last year. The filing comes on the one-year anniversary of Anadith’s passing on May 17, 2023. View the filing here.

TCRP and HBA have represented the family in an investigation of her case. Throughout the investigation, the organizations have been met with roadblocks from CBP in accessing Anadith’s medical records. Despite numerous requests, CBP has refused to provide the organizations with records needed to assist the investigation.

While CBP officials have tried to claim that Anadith was sickly and had prior health conditions, the facts are that when she was apprehended with her family on May 9, 2023, Anadith was healthy, and when she became sick in the detention facility, her mother’s repeated requests for appropriate medical care were rejected. Moments after being denied the ability to go to the hospital yet again, Anadith passed away in her mother’s arms while in the CBP facility on May 17, 2023. 

“Today, precisely on May 17, the one-year anniversary of Anadith’s passing is being observed. This year has not been easy for us - we have suffered, cried and missed our baby,” said Mabel Álvarez (she/her), Mother of Anadith. “The most painful thing is that the government has not wanted to provide us with any documents regarding Anadith, which has not been easy for us. We have fought a lot and we are still fighting. I ask the government to please help us access Anadith’s documents so that we can turn the page because it is very painful. The most painful thing is that they don't want to help us. What I want most is for justice to be done for the death of my daughter and for this to not go unpunished, that  justice be done for the memory of Anadith Reyes.”

“When the Álvarez family sought safety at the Texas border, they envisioned a place where their family could be safe and fulfill their dreams. From the minute they were detained, this vision became a nightmare,” said Karla Marisol Vargas (she/her), Senior Attorney with the Beyond Borders Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Anadith dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up, and yet her first experience with medical care in U.S. detention resulted in her death. For the past year, we have called on CBP to be transparent, to give us and the family the answers needed to determine what exactly happened to Anadith. Request after request for documentation was denied, shrouding what actually happened behind layers of bureaucratic red tape. Today, we call on CBP to be transparent and release the requested information so that those responsible for this tragedy can be held accountable.” 

“Anadith and her family, members of the Afro-indigenous Garifuna community, were subject to the anti-Black and anti-indigenous discrimination that is systemic in the U.S. immigration system,” said Erik Crew (he/him), Staff Attorney at the Haitian Bridge Alliance. “HBA staff, and the people we serve, encounter this discrimination daily at the border and in detention centers. Justice for Anadith and her family requires transparency. But the government has denied the family even that. We are now forced to go into federal court to compel the Government to produce the information as required by law.”

TCRP and HBA respectfully request that press refrain from contacting Anadith’s family directly, who do not wish to speak to the media at this time. If you have any questions please contact TCRP or HBA media representatives.



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