Guatemalan Boy Who Died in US Custody Had Flu

Arturo Kim
December 29, 2018

As human rights groups, Democratic lawmakers, and the United Nations demanded an independent probe into the deaths of two Guatemalan children in U.S. Border Patrol custody, President Donald Trump's Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sparked outrage on Wednesday by declaring that "open borders" advocates and the kids' "own parents"-not Trump's inhumane treatment of immigrants-are to blame".

U-S Customs and Border Protection says the boy was taken to a hospital in New Mexico on Monday. Nielsen is visiting El Paso, Texas, and Yuma, Ariz., on Friday and Saturday, according to a DHS official, and meeting with Border Patrol agents and local health care providers.

The boy, who has been identified as Felipe Gomez Alonzo, was taken to a New Mexico hospital twice on the day of his death by CBP officials alongside his father, after they had immigrated to the US days earlier.

This Dec, 12, 2018 photo provided by Catarina Gomez on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, shows her half-brother Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, near her home in Yalambojoch, Guatemala. Both were from Guatemala.

But pediatricians on the border say they have been raising similar concerns for years.

Congressman Beto O'Rourke of Texas says the situation with the boy's illness isn't uncommon, noting all that these migrant children have been through.

Immigration authorities rarely allow visitors inside processing centers near the border.

"Lots of them have gone with children and managed to cross, even if they're held for a month or two". It said that Border Patrol officials had detained almost 140,000 people seeking to enter the country illegally in the last two months. "The lights are on 24 hours a day".

Similarly, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan stressed the dangers posed by traveling long distances, on crowded transportation, or in the natural elements in a statement on December 14. He died early Tuesday, Homeland Security said.

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"They were built 30 to 40 years ago for single adult males, and we need a different approach".

The boy's death came on the same day that Jakelin Caal, a Guatemalan girl who died in USA custody, was buried.

1pm: As he is about to be released from medical care, hospital staff notice he has a 103F (39.4C) fever.

Also on Officials' fault or parents' neglect? "But they always manage to get across easily", she told Reuters.

Later that day, the child started vomiting and showing signs of nausea.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security told reporters today that nearly all checks ordered in reaction to the boy's death had been completed. "One of whom is 3 years old and has a fever".

First, Border Patrol is conducting secondary medical checks on all children in CBP care and custody with a particular focus on children under 10.

Now the head of Customs and Border Protection is reiterating calls for Congress to provide more funding to handle the influx of migrants crossing the border. He hopes to be able to do that again.

She added: "According to interviews [with migrants], the coyotes are saying 'it's now or never" because the wall is going to be built, and it won't be possible to cross'.

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