After death of 2nd migrant child, Nielsen orders medical screenings for kids in U.S. custody

Kirstjen Nielsen.
(Image credit: Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy in U.S. custody on Christmas Day, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ordered Wednesday that all detained migrant children 10 and under undergo medical screenings.

Earlier this month, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin from Guatemala died in U.S. custody in Texas after crossing the southern border. Nielsen said the U.S. immigration system has been "pushed to the breaking point by those who seek open borders," with "smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put[ting] these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north."

Nielsen also said she will visit the border later this week in order to see "first-hand" how medical checks are conducted, and has deployed Coast Guard medics to screen migrants. So far this month, 24,000 minors have arrived at the southern border, authorities said.

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