An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy dies in USA custody on Christmas

An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy dies in USA custody on Christmas

Kerry Wise
December 26, 2018

CBP officers and the Border Patrol remain on the job despite the shutdown.

The CBP said the child's cause of death is not yet known.

The boy, said CBP, was initially diagnosed with a cold but later broke into a fever. "The child was held for an additional 90 minutes for observation and then released from the hospital mid-afternoon on December 24 with prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen". The border agents later had to clean the boy's vomit, but the father "declined further medical assistance" for the boy.

An US border patrol agent observes near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico. The boy died at 11:48 p.m. Monday, the agency said.

The statement says the boy showed signs of illness on Christmas Eve and both were transferred to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center. He had been detained by CBP with his father.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the boy died shortly after midnight Tuesday.

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According to Guatemala's foreign ministry, the father and son entered the United States at El Paso, Texas, on Dec 18, then were taken to the Border Patrol's Alamogordo station Sunday.

CBP said it moved them to Alamogordo, New Mexico, at about 1 a.m. Sunday "because of capacity levels at the El Paso station".

In January 2017, Trump signed an executive order that initiated the process of building a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Guatemala's Consul General in Phoenix, Oscar Padilla Lam, met with the boy's father in Almagordo to "hear his version of the facts", according to the statement. They were planning to go to Johnson City, Tennessee.

The news of the boy's death triggered political outrage. Jakelin Caal Maquin and her father, Nery Caal, were apprehended by Border Patrol agents in the New Mexico desert on December 6, as part of a larger group of 163 illegal aliens.

Her death reignited debate in the United States over immigration policy and the treatment of migrants. The girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, had been apprehended in New Mexico after crossing the southern border into the US illegally with her father. She was twice revived by Border Patrol emergency medical technicians or EMTs and airlifted to a Texas hospital. She was ultimately flown to an El Paso hospital, where she died the next day.