Cold Christmas
December 26, 2018

An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died in U.S. custody early Christmas Day at a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico, after U.S. Border Patrol agents detaining him and his father noticed the boy was ill on Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and the Guatemalan consul in Phoenix identified the boy as Felipe Gómez Alonzo. His death follows that of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died of dehydration and shock in Border Patrol custody on Dec. 8 and was buried in her Guatemalan home town on Monday.

After Caal's death, CBP promised to report the deaths of any migrants in its custody to Congress within 24 hours, then release a public statement an hour later. CBP did not say when the boy and his father were apprehended, but Guatemala's Foreign Ministry told The Associated Press they entered the U.S. at El Paso on Dec. 18 and were transferred to the Border Patrol's small Alamogordo's station on Sunday. A CBP official tells The Washington Post that father and son were held at a checkpoint between Las Cruces and Alamogordo because of overcrowding at the El Paso holding cells.

CPB said the boy was taken to a hospital in Alamogordo on Monday after showing "signs of potential illness," was released with prescriptions for amoxicillin and ibuprofen and a diagnosis of cold and fever after 90 minutes of observation, and was sent back to the hospital on Monday night after nausea and vomiting. He died just after midnight on Tuesday, and the cause of death has not been determined. On Tuesday, the Border Patrol's El Paso sector, which had custody of both dead children, ordered emergency medical technicians to conduct medical assessments of all 700 children in its custody and send any sick or injured kids to a hospital, The Washington Post reports. It is unknown how many children were hospitalized. Peter Weber

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