Second child dies in custody - USA immigration authorities

8-year-old boy from Guatemala dies in government custody
Migrant boy, 8, dies after being detained in government custody

26 December, 2018

US Customs and Border Protection said in a news release that the boy died shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

The boy, identified by Texas congressman Joaquin Castro as Felipe Alonzo Gomez, had been transferred to a New Mexico medical centre showing signs of sickness on Christmas Eve, the agency said yesterday.

There, he was diagnosed with a cold and a fever, was given prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen and released that afternoon.

The boy was taken back to the hospital after he started vomiting in the evening and died shortly after midnight.

The Guatemalan government was notified and is in contact with the boy's father and family, the statement added.

The boy's death followed the death in early December of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, also from Guatemala.

Jakelin and her father Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz were taken into custody on December 6 after crossing the border into New Mexico.

Jakelin who died in hospital two days after being taken into custody by US border patrol agents
An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy dies in US custody on Christmas

"Heartbroken to hear of a second child's death in CBP custody", tweeted Nydia Velazquez, a Democratic congresswoman from NY. But with border crossings surging, CBP processes thousands of children - both alone and with their parents - every month.

The death follows one earlier this month of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, in an incident that left Democrats saying the Trump administration had blood on its hands.

Felipe González Morales, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, said on Monday that American authorities "must ensure that an in-depth, independent investigation" is conducted.

Late Tuesday, commissioner Kevin K McAleenan announced the agency was "conducting secondary medical checks upon all children in CBP care and custody", and "reviewing its policies with particular focus upon care and custody of children under ten".

President Donald Trump has made hardline immigration policies a central plank of his presidency, drawing fire from critics who accuse him of demonizing migrants for political gain.

"I was like, 'wow, ' I was shocked", Collman told The Post and Courier of Charleston, describing her call with Trump.

Large numbers of Guatemalan families have been arriving in recent weeks in New Mexico, often in remote and risky parts of the desert. It was not immediately known if the watchdog would open an investigation into the boy's death.

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