American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Calls for Immediate Action Following the Tragic Death of Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez in CBP Custody

May 18, 2023  – The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) expresses deep concern over the heartbreaking news of the death of 8-year-old Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez from Panama while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Harlingen, Texas. This tragic incident once again highlights the critical need for significant transformation in the care and treatment of minors in CBP custody.

In light of this devastating event, AACAP calls for a transparent and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Anadith's death. We are committed to learning from this tragedy and implementing meaningful changes that will prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future. Moreover, we emphasize the utmost importance of providing immediate support and solace to Anadith's grieving family during this difficult time.

As experts in the field of medical and mental health care for children and adolescents, we strongly urge the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take prompt and decisive steps to ensure that all minors in CBP custody receive comprehensive medical and mental health screening. Additionally, it is crucial that these children and adolescents have immediate access to the necessary follow-up care delivered by trained providers. Their physical and emotional well-being must be prioritized and safeguarded at all times.

AACAP calls for the collective engagement of policymakers, legislative bodies, and governmental entities to actively collaborate in formulating policies that prioritize the health and welfare of children and families throughout the immigration process with their voices. By fostering a partnership among these vital stakeholders, we can collectively work towards developing comprehensive and compassionate measures that uphold the rights and well-being of vulnerable individuals. Together, we can develop comprehensive and compassionate policies that protect the rights and promote the flourishing of immigrant children and families.

In the pursuit of compassion and humanity, we implore relevant authorities to take immediate and decisive action. Together, let us strive to create a system that upholds the dignity, humanity, and well-being of every child, family, and community impacted by migration and displacement.


The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is a national professional medical association dedicated to promoting the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families. With a membership of over 9,000 professionals, AACAP provides valuable resources, expertise, and advocacy to advance the field of child and adolescent psychiatry and improve mental health care for young people.