An 8-year-old Guatemalan child died on Christmas Eve while in Border Patrol custody, agency says

  • An 8-year-old child from Guatemala died at a hospital in New Mexico while in Border Patrol custody late on December 24, the agency said in a statement.
  • The statement said a Border Patrol agent first noticed the child showing signs of potential illness on Monday while in custody, and that the father and child were “promptly transferred” to a hospital.
  • The child was initially diagnosed with a common cold, the statement said, but hospital staff later found he had a fever.
  • After being held for observation for an hour and a half, the child was released from the hospital on Monday afternoon, then brought back later that evening after displaying nausea and vomiting.
  • The child’s identity and cause of death is unknown.

An 8-year-old migrant child from Guatemala died at a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico, late on December 24 after being apprehended by US Customs and Border Protection, the agency said in a statement that was first reported by the San Antonio Express News.

The statement said a Border Patrol agent noticed the child showed signs of potential illness while in custody earlier that same day. It went on to say boy and his father were “promptly transferred” to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo.

Though the child was initially diagnosed with a common cold, the statement said, hospital staff later found he had a fever. After being held for observation for another 90 minutes, the child was released from the hospital on Monday afternoon with prescriptions for amoxicillin and ibuprofen.

Later that same evening, the statement said, the boy began vomiting and was brought back to the hospital, where he died late on Christmas Eve.

The child’s identity and cause of death is unknown.

CBP’s statement said both Congress and the Guatemalan government has been notified of the boy’s death, and the Department of Homeland Security will review the incident.

The death of the Guatemalan child comes just weeks after a 7-year-old migrant girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, died in Border Patrol custody. A CBP timeline showed she had not been able to access emergency medical care until roughly 90 minutes after she first began showing symptoms.


Read more:
Migrant father contradicts US officials, says his 7-year-old daughter who died in Border Patrol custody was given no water for 8 hours

Jakelin died on December 8, shortly after she and her father were apprehended while illegally crossing into a remote area of the desert in New Mexico as part of a group of 163 migrants.

The Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, drew backlash in recent weeks after appearing to blame Jakelin’s death on the family members who brought her across the US-Mexico border.

In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” Nielsen told the hosts that the girl’s death “is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey” migrants take.

“This family chose to cross illegally,” she said. “What happened here was that they were about 90 miles away from where we could process them. They came in such a large crowd that it took our Border Patrol folks a couple of times to get them all.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated after Customs and Border Protection clarified that the child died late on December 24, not December 25 as the agency originally stated.

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