Overwhelmed border agency conducts medical checks on children after two deaths

Overwhelmed border agency conducts medical checks on children after two deaths

Overwhelmed border agency conducts medical checks on children after two deaths

U.S. authorities in the state of New Mexico say an autopsy performed on the 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in USA custody shows he had the flu.

Marta Larra, a spokeswoman for Guatemala's Foreign Ministry, said smugglers known as "coyotes" often encourage migrants to take children as a form of "visa". "It's been more than a decade since we've had a child pass away anywhere in a CBP process, so this is just devastating for us".

"Children in the custody of the Trump administration are dying, and the best the secretary of Homeland Security can do is blame those who seek open borders" and "parents".

All children in Border Patrol custody have been given a "thorough medical screening", and moving forward all children will receive "a more thorough hands on assessment" as soon as possible after being apprehended, whether or not the adult with them asks for one, Nielsen said in a statement.

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Felipe's death marks the second time a minor has died in detention this month, again raising questions about whether officials failed to notice vital signs of distress from a migrant child in government custody. CBP says Felipe's father has spoken to the consulate and his wife back in Guatemala after the child's death.

Huehuetenango sends the highest number of migrants overseas from Guatemala every year, Larra said.

Nielsen blamed "a system that prevents parents who bring their children on a unsafe illegal journey from facing consequences for their actions". DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is also personally taking a trip to the border to review her agency's tactics in detaining migrants. "Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the risky and arduous journey north".

He crossed the border along with his father and they were detained 3.29 miles from the port of entry in El Paso, Texas, on December 18.

After death of Guatemalan boy, US to step up medical screenings
Felipe Gomez Alonzo died Monday at a New Mexico hospital after suffering coughing, vomiting and fever , authorities said . Before this month, there were six deaths in CBP custody in 2018, and none of those were children, DHS officials said.

USA Today reports that because of "capacity levels" in El Paso, they were moved to the Border Patrol station at Alamogordo, New Mexico, two days later. The group of migrants waited eight hours before boarding a bus to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station.

"The child was initially diagnosed by hospital staff with a common cold, and when evaluated for release, hospital staff found a fever", government officials previously said in a news release.

The boy's mother told the AP, through Gomez Lucas, that her son was healthy when he left on the journey, and she had spoken to him the day before he and his father were taken into custody by CBP officials, which happened on December 18.

Later that day, however, the child "exhibited nausea and vomiting and was transferred back" to the facility for evaluation and treatment, CBP said. Her death - which brought down heavy criticism on USA immigration authorities - is also under investigation. CBP said that the child vomited and lost consciousness on the way. The watchdog is already looking into Caal's death.

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Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren, who starting next month will chair the House subcommittee that deals with immigration and border security issues, on Wednesday pledged to conduct oversight about the conditions in CBP's holding facilities for migrants.

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