A 5-month-old baby from Honduras has contracted pneumonia and been hospitalized in North Carolina after reportedly being detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol earlier this month, and the mother is blaming CBP’s “freezing” holding cells. The baby’s 23-year-old Honduran mother, identified only as A. Portillo by BuzzFeed News, said she and her daughter had arrived in the U.S. with the Central American caravan and been detained on Dec. 12. They were then held in “freezing” cells for five days, she said, and no medical assistance was provided when the baby’s health started deteriorating. “I said I needed a hospital because her breathing was getting worse," Portillo told BuzzFeed. “The agents told me I wasn't in a position to be asking for anything and that they didn't tell me to come to the United States," she was quoted as saying. After being released, Portillo said she and her baby traveled to North Carolina to stay with family—but the child’s condition continued to worsen and she was hospitalized after she at one point stopped breathing. Hospital staff reportedly told her to “prepare for the possibility that her daughter may die,” she told NBC News. Customs and Border Patrol told NBC News that it is still getting more information on the case but referred to an internal report from June 2018 asserting that the cells are kept at moderate temperatures between 66 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
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