8-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy Dies in U.S. Border Patrol Custody After Being Diagnosed With a Cold

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, climb down a steep hill after giving up on trying to climb the border wall into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico, on December 13, 2018. (Leah Millis / Reuters)
Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, climb down a steep hill after giving up on trying to climb the border wall into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico, on December 13, 2018. (Leah Millis / Reuters)

An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died of unknown causes in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection early Christmas morning in New Mexico, the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

A Border Patrol agent noticed that the child, who was apprehended with his father, “showed signs of potential illness” on Monday, CBP said, citing initial reporting.

The father and son were then taken to a medical center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where the child was initially diagnosed with a common cold, according to the statement. When the boy was evaluated for release, hospital staff found a fever and he was held for an additional 90 minutes before being released on Monday afternoon, CBP said. The boy was given prescriptions for amoxicillin, an antibiotic, and the painkiller ibuprofen.

On Monday night, the boy was nauseous and began vomiting and was sent back to the same hospital but died shortly after midnight Monday, the agency said.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex., the incoming chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, identified the boy as Felix Alonzo-Gomez in a statement Tuesday.

Castro credited CBP for its timely public notification, but he also blamed the Trump administration’s broader immigration policy for putting migrants in harm’s way.

“The Administration’s policy of turning people away from legal ports of entry, otherwise known as metering, is putting families and children in great danger,” Castro said in a statement.

The official cause of the child’s death is still unknown and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility will conduct a review, consistent with policy, according to the statement.

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SOURCE: Daniella Silva
NBC News