Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials said on Wednesday that the 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in us custody this week did so after his alleged father declined additional medical treatment. But that is only after migrant children and parents have been released from Border Patrol custody, as many as five or six days after they've crossed the border.
Felipe Gomez Alonzo died Monday at a New Mexico hospital after suffering coughing, vomiting and fever, authorities said.
Alonzo was released with prescriptions for ibuprofen and an antibiotic, and taken with his dad, Agustin Gomez, to a holding facility at a highway checkpoint.
Later that day, however, the child "exhibited nausea and vomiting and was transferred back" to the facility for evaluation and treatment, CBP said.
A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died earlier this month after being apprehended by border agents.
Nielsen has called Gomez Alonzo's death "deeply concerning and heartbreaking".
"Despite our trained EMT agents' best efforts fighting for Jakelin's life, and the work of the Hidalgo County and Providence Children's Hospital medical teams treating her, we were unable to rescue her", CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said in a statement.
She was said to have had a body temperature of 105.7F (40.9C). When the child, identified as Jackeline Caal, and her father were detained at on a remote stretch of the USA border earlier this month she appeared to be in good health, but she had stopped breathing by the time she arrived at a Border Patrol station, according to the Department of Homeland Security. On Dec. 25, he called to say the boy had died in a hospital.
The Department of Homeland Security says it has completed new medical screenings of nearly all the children in the care of the U.S. Border Patrol. The agency "is considering options for surge medical assistance" from the U.S. Coast Guard and may request help from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defence and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The boy, identified by Guatemalan authorities as Felipe Gomez Alonzo, had been in CBP's custody with his father, Agustin Gomez, since December 18.
"It's not a place for a well child, much less a sick child", said Marsha Griffin, a pediatrician in Brownsville, Texas, and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The boy, identified by Guatemalan officials as Felipe Gomez Alonzo, was the second child to die in CBP custody this month.
The other minor, Jakelin Caal, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, died of dehydration and shock on December 8, 36 hours after being apprehended by border agents.
The agency said that the cause of death had not been determined, and that the Department of Homeland Security's inspector-general and the Guatemalan government had been notified.
In January 2017, Trump signed an executive order that initiated the process of building a wall along the US-Mexico border.
It appears Felipe got sick after authorities moved him from El Paso, Texas, to Alamogordo, New Mexico, because of overcrowding. McAleenan said his agency reported all deaths in custody to both its office of professional responsibility and the DHS inspector general.