Border Patrol Said Another Migrant Child Has Died In Custody
A second Guatemalan migrant child has died in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. An unidentified 8-year-old migrant boy died in CBP custody shortly after midnight on Christmas, the agency confirmed in a news release sent to Bustle on Tuesday. The child's official cause of death was unknown as of Tuesday afternoon.
UPDATE: Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) has identified the boy as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez.
EARLIER: According to CBP, a border patrol officer noticed "signs of potential illness" in the child on Monday and "promptly" transferred both the boy and his father to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The medical center is located roughly 90 miles from the border crossing in El Paso, Texas, CNN has reported. CBP has said the young migrant boy was released from the hospital after being initially diagnosed with a common cold and then later a fever and prescribed amoxicillin and ibuprofen.
Later that evening, however, CBP said the boy was reported to be vomiting and exhibiting signs of nausea, leading border patrol agents to return him to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center for further treatment. "The child passed shortly after midnight on December 25," CBP said in the news release. "The official cause of the child’s death is not known." A CBP spokesperson declined to elaborate further but told Bustle that an independent and thorough review of the circumstances would be conducted.
Bustle has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment.
The boy is the second Guatemalan migrant child to die in CBP custody this month. Seven-year-old Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin died in early December less than 48 hours after she, her father, and 161 other migrants presented themselves to border patrol agents at the Antelope Wells Port of Entry in a remote part of New Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert.
According to the Associated Press, DHS and CBP officials said Jakelin's father signed a form that indicated she did not have any current illnesses. DHS and CBP officials also said Jakelin showed no evidence of health issues when agents conducted a routine medical screening shortly after the migrants presented themselves.
A few hours later, however, DHS said Jakelin's father alerted border patrol agents that his daughter was vomiting and appeared to have a fever. Emergency medical personnel were called to meet Jakelin, who was traveling by bus with her father to the Lordsburg Border Patrol station. DHS has said that when Jakelin arrived at Lordsburg, her father notified agents that she'd stopped breathing and border patrol agents immediately began administering medical care until emergency medical services arrived and took over.
According to The Washington Post, Jakelin was then taken to Providence Children's Hospital in nearby El Paso, Texas, where she reportedly went into cardiac arrest but was revived. But Jakelin ultimately did not fully recover and died at the hospital CBP told The Post.
On Tuesday, a CBP news release said the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility would review the case and confirmed that the DHS' Office of the Inspector General had been notified along with the Guatemalan government, and appropriate members of Congress.
"CBP will release more details as available and appropriate, and will ensure an independent and thorough review of the circumstances," a news release from the agency said.