WASHINGTON – An eight-year-old boy from Guatemala has died in United States government custody, immigration authorities said.
A Texas congressman named the child as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez.
It is the second time this month an immigrant child has died while being detained after crossing the US-Mexico border.
The previous instance saw seven-year-old Jakelin Caal, also from Guatemala, die just hours after being taken into custody.
Texan congressman Joaquin Castro called for a congressional investigation into the boy’s death.
“We must ensure that we treat migrants and asylum-seekers with human dignity and provide the necessary medical care to anyone in the custody of the United States government,” he said. “The administration’s policy of turning people away from legal ports of entry, otherwise known as metering, is putting families and children in great danger.”
Thousands of migrants have travelled from Central America to the US border.
The migrants say they are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence in their home countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Many of them say their goal is to settle in the US despite warnings by US officials that anyone found entering the country illegally will face arrest, prosecution and deportation.
What happened in this latest case?
The boy died shortly after midnight on Dec. 25, US Customs and Border Protection said.
In a statement, the agency said the eight-year-old had displayed “signs of potential illness” on Monday.
It reported that he and his father were taken to a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where the boy was diagnosed with a cold and a fever, given prescriptions for amoxicillin and ibuprofen, and released on Monday afternoon.
He returned to the hospital on Monday evening after he began vomiting and died there just hours later, the statement added. (BBC)