Deaths of 2 children raise doubts about US border agency

The Latest CBP to do health check on all minors after death

But an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday in Albuquerque, according to the University of New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. It was the second such death this month.

An eight-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in us custody this week had trekked to the border with his father from a rural northwestern village, Guatemala's government said on Wednesday, following thousands of others who have made the area a hot spot of migration. He died there early on Tuesday, CBP said, adding that the official cause of death was not known.

"They were built 30 to 40 years ago for single adult males, and we need a different approach. They said they could pass with the children", said Catarina Gomez Lucas, the boy's 21-year-old stepsister, explaining why Felipe and his father, Agustin Gomez, made the unsafe journey.

President Donald Trump's Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sparked outrage on Wednesday when she declared that the childrens' "own parents" and "open borders" advocates are responsible for the deaths of two children in U.S. Border Patrol custody.

The Trump administration has long argued that smugglers capitalize on vulnerable parents because of "loopholes" in American law, such as anti-trafficking legislation passed in 2008 that effectively prevents the immediate deportations of Central American children.

Felipe "always wanted a bicycle", and in the USA he wouldn't have to endure the poverty and lack of opportunity in Guatemala, she said.

His mother, Catarina Alonzo Perez, is still in Guatemala and spoke to local newspaper Prensa Libre, saying she wants her son's remains to be sent back to their home but wants her husband to be allowed to stay in the U.S.

She said she hoped the matter could be addressed through a hearing in 2019.

Both Felipe and Jakelin came from rural communities with extreme poverty.

During her trip to the border, Nielsen is scheduled to monitor medical screening procedures for detainees and observe the conditions at Border Patrol stations.

At 9 a.m. local time on December 24, the father and child were transported to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, for "possible influenza symptoms", after an agent noticed the boy had a cough and "glossy eyes".

She said the family stopped hearing from Felipe's father on December 18, when he and the boy were detained. He returned to the medical center, where he died after midnight.

"He told us that (Felipe) was fine all day, that he was playing with other children".

"He wasn't sick on the way; he wasn't sick here", Alonzo Perez told the AP via Gomez Lucas. According to the CBP, "agents logged 17 welfare checks" with Felipe and his father in this time. Because an EMT is not on duty, agents take father and son back to the hospital.

"Border Patrol agents, including trained emergency medical technicians, did everything in their power to provide emergency medical assistance for Jakelin Caal Maquin immediately after her father notified the agents of her distress at a remote Forward Operating Base, 94 miles from the nearest Border Patrol Station", CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said afterward.

Agency guidelines say immigrants generally shouldn't be detained for more than 72 hours in CBP holding facilities, which are usually smaller and have fewer services than ICE detention centers.

An 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died on Christmas Day while in US Border Control custody.

On Christmas Day, CBP announced the death.



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