January 19, 2019

Feinstein requests hearing after 2 migrant children die in custody

28 December 2018, 11:44 | Rodolfo Wallace

Migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border say they are fleeing persecution poverty and violence. /BBC

Migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border say they are fleeing persecution poverty and violence. /BBC

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced a host of "extraordinary protective measures" created to improve conditions for children and adults held in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has ordered medical checks on every child in its custody after an eight-year-old boy from Guatemala died, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency's care this month.

"In response to the unprecedented surge of children into our custody, I have directed a series of extraordinary protective measures", Nielsen said in a statement.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said in a statement Thursday that the results of nasal and lung swabs on Felipe Gomez Alonzo "tested positive for influenza B".

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security said a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, had died hours after being taken into Border Patrol protection.

Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi said Congress will investigate the two deaths to "ensure that no other child is left to such a fate". That includes more than 68,000 families and 13,981 children who were not with their father, mother or family members. "But they always manage to get across easily", she told Reuters.

"No one ever thinks you'll lose a life".

"We've asked for help". "It raises a whole number of red flags". CBP said in a statement late Tuesday that an agent first noticed the boy had a cough and "glossy eyes" at about 9 a.m. Monday.

The situation at the border is a humanitarian crisis, and America is on the side of exacerbating the crisis, instead of ameliorating it. He was released that afternoon but returned in the evening with nausea and vomiting and died there just after midnight, CBP said.

A spokeswoman for the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center said in a statement that privacy regulations prevented the hospital from sharing information about an individual patient and could not comment on the case.

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"I've explained to Congress. that what we're seeing with these flows, of huge numbers of families with lots of children, young children, as well as unaccompanied minors coming into Border Patrol custody after crossing the border unlawfully, that our stations are not built for that group that's crossing today", CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday. CBP officers and the Border Patrol remain on the job despite the shutdown.

CBP previously reported he had died early on Tuesday.

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

In the meantime, Trump's insistence on building a southern border wall has given coyotes a fresh argument to promote migration, Larra said.

At the USA southwestern border with Mexico, there are areas where no medical workers are available.

But it seems likely those changes won't address the real driver of this problem which isn't just economic opportunity but a belief that having a child with them gives migrants an advantage.

Under US law, families from countries that do not border the United States cannot be immediately deported, and because of a longstanding legal settlement, there are restrictions on how long US authorities can detain migrant children.

"It should be noted that the lack of training and equipment and staff also presents a danger to the personnel from CBP who work there", he added.

When Agustin called on Christmas to say Felipe had died, he also told them the boy had been "fine all day, that he was playing with other children".

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security told reporters today that nearly all checks ordered in reaction to the boy's death had been completed.

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