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U.S. Border Agency Orders Medical Checks on Detained Children After Second Child in Custody Dies 

click to enlarge DEBBIE NATHAN
  • Debbie Nathan
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has ordered medical checks on all detained children after a second immigrant child this month died while in its care.

Recent reports about the death of eight-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo from Guatemala have prompted government officials to take action to prevent another death. Alonzo had been in custody with his father Agustín Gómez since Dec. 18, according to The Guardian.

CBP officials said Tuesday that an agent noticed the younger Alonzo had a cough and "glossy eyes" on Monday morning. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with a common cold but CBP confirmed that he died later that evening at a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The boy's death comes after the Dec. 8 death of Jakelin Caal, a seven-year-old immigrant child also from Guatemala.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said prior to this month's fatalities it had been more than a decade since a child died in the agency's care. Officials also said CBP needs help providing healthcare from other government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

CBP announced that there would be a "thorough review of the circumstances," while the Guatemalan foreign ministry called for the investigation to be "in accordance with due process."

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