DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visits border after migrant child’s death

State representatives weigh in on deaths of migrant children

State representatives weigh in on deaths of migrant children

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has ordered medical checks on every child in its custody after an eight-year-old boy from Guatemala died, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency's care this month. He was initially diagnosed with a common cold following a medical evaluation.

Felipe was held for observation for 90 minutes, according to CBP, before being released with prescriptions for amoxicillin and ibuprofen. After the boy began to vomit and had a fever, he was taken back to the hospital in the evening, where he died just before midnight on December 24.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said in a statement Thursday that the results of nasal and lung swabs on Felipe Gomez Alonzo "tested positive for influenza B".

She said the family stopped hearing from Felipe's father on December 18, when he and the boy were detained.

She noted that before the two recent migrant children deaths, there had been no migrant children passing away in Border Patrol custody in more than a decade.

She was said to have had a body temperature of 105.7F (40.9C).

But shortly after being detained by USA border agents, she developed a high fever and died of shock from sepsis on December 8. He returned to the medical center, where he died after midnight.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan on Wednesday said that his department needs additional help and resources from Congress. That could include support from the Coast Guard, as well as possibly more aid from the Department of Defense, FEMA, Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Officials say 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died three weeks ago, was dehydrated and had similar symptoms.

"Another child dies under this Administration's watch", tweeted Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey, also of Texas.

The United States has neither the detention space nor the legal authority to hold children long enough to process their parents' claims, so families are typically released from custody to await court hearings that could be months, even years, into the future...

In a statement released Wednesday, Nielsen called the death of 8-year-old Guatemalan boy Felipe Alonzo-Gomez a "deeply concerning and heartbreaking" "tragedy" and said she would enable more thorough medical screenings for children who are apprehended at the border.

A CBP rep could not immediately answer how many children are in the agency's custody.

The agency said the cause of death had not been determined, and that the Department of Homeland Security's inspector-general and the Guatemalan government had been notified.

"It would also allow me to present my recommendations to the US government to fulfill its global commitments to respect and protect the human rights of all migrants". Felipe was hospitalized Monday after a border agent noticed he was coughing.

The DHS secretary defended Border Patrol officials, saying they had "assisted more than 4,300 people in distress along the border".

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