US Orders Medical Checks on All Migrant Kids in Custody

After 8-year-old boy died Christmas Eve
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 26, 2018 8:02 AM CST
CBP Orders Checks on Migrant Kids After Christmas Eve Death
A Border Patrol agent observes near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, NM.   (AP Photo/Christian Torres, File)

US Customs and Border Protection has ordered medical checks on every child in its custody Tuesday after an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency's care this month. The boy, identified by Guatemalan authorities as Felipe Gómez Alonzo, had been in CBP's custody with his father, Agustin Gomez, since Dec. 18, the AP reports. CBP said in a statement late Tuesday that an agent first noticed the boy had a cough and "glossy eyes" at about 9am Monday. He was eventually hospitalized twice and died just before midnight, the agency said. CBP said in the statement it needs the help of other government agencies to provide health care.

The agency "is considering options for surge medical assistance" from the Coast Guard and may request help from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and FEMA. CBP officers and the Border Patrol remain on the job despite the shutdown. A CBP spokesman could not immediately answer how many children are currently in the agency's custody. But with border crossings surging, CBP processes thousands of children—both alone and with their parents—every month. Felipe and his father were detained by CBP for about a week, an unusually long time that the agency did not fully explain Tuesday. (The body of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, who died earlier this month, was returned this past week to her village in Guatemala for burial.)

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