US immigration authorities began performing medical examinations on all immigrant children in their custody, after a second Guatemalan boy died on Tuesday after being arrested for illegally crossing the border with Mexico.
Children under 10 years old will have priority in medical examinations, the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) said in a statement today.
In addition, the border police announced that they are evaluating the care they provide to these children under 10 years of age when they are detained and in the first 24 hours of their custody.
On Christmas Eve, an eight-year-old Guatemalan boy, identified as Felipe Gómez Alonzo, died in a hospital in the state of New Mexico for reasons that are still unknown and after having been in the custody of border police for more than one year. week.
Government regulations state that immigrants should not be detained for more than 72 hours in CBP facilities, which are usually intended for a temporary stay and have fewer resources than detention centers run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Customs (ICE).
According to information published today by the CBP, Gómez Alonzo and his father were arrested on December 18 at 13.00 local time (20.00 GMT) about 5 kilometers from an official point of entry to the country located on the bridge that joins the Texas town from El Paso (USA) and Ciudad Juárez (Mexico).
They were detained in that CBP center for two days, and then they were transferred to the facilities of that agency in El Paso, but because that building was saturated, they decided to take the boy and his father to the city of Alamogordo, in New Mexico. .
On December 23, the boy and his father arrived in Alamogordo, about 145 kilometers from El Paso, and the next day the boy was hospitalized because he coughed and had "bright eyes".
At the Gerald Champion Regional hospital in Alamogordo, the doctors determined that the child had a common cold, but then they noticed that he had a fever and decided to leave him another 90 minutes under observation to finally discharge him with a prescription to take ibuprofen and amoxicillin. .
However, the child's health worsened: he began to feel nauseated and vomited, so that the immigration agents took him back to the Gerald Champion Regional hospital.
The child was pronounced dead at 23.48 local time (06.48 GMT) on the 24th, on Christmas Eve, as detailed today by CBP, which in principle said that the child had died at Christmas.
This is the second minor to die in less than a month in the custody of the US authorities, after the death of Guatemalan girl Jakelin Caal Maquín, aged 7, on December 8 at a children's hospital in El Paso, Texas. , after having illegally crossed the border with Mexico with his father.