Members of a family hug each other during the event "Hugs not Walls" at the riverbed of the Rio Grande river at the border between Mexico and the United States in Juarez, Mexico, on June 24, 2017. The event provided an opportunity for families who live across the border to hug their loved ones for four minutes. (Xinhua/David Peinado)
UNITED NATIONS, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Recent reports about the deaths of migrant and refugee children during the immigration and asylum process in the United States are "deeply upsetting", a statement from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) USA said Friday.
"Every child, no matter where they come from, deserves to be safe and protected. While the specifics of these recent cases are different, each child left their home in search of a safer, more secure future," UNICEF USA said in a statement.
Children should not be detained for migration purposes and should be provided access to health care and other essential services regardless of their immigration status, the statement said.
The deaths of immigrant children in U.S. government custody have sparked calls for investigations and changes to President Donald Trump's administration policy.
U.S. authorities said on Wednesday that a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died last year after being detained by border authorities in a previously unreported case.
The death marked the sixth known case in the last year of a child dying after being detained by border officials.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Wednesday that the girl died on Sept. 29 at an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital of fever and respiratory distress.
A spokesman, Mark Weber, said the department began caring for the unidentified girl in March 2018, without information on when she had entered the United States or whether a parent or adult accompanied her.