The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it will change procedures in medical examinations after another child died in custody last week.
Eight-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez died in custody on Christmas morning, after he was detained along with his father for crossing the U.S. border.
“This is a tragic loss,” CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said. “On behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, our deepest sympathies go out to the family.”
According to this report on CNN, a border agent detected illness in the child, who was then taken to a local hospital over the weekend when sick symptoms surfaced. Medical staff there initially determined the child suffered from a cold and a fever. But the child was only observed by local staff before the transport.
“The child was held for an additional 90 minutes for observation and then released from the hospital mid-afternoon on December 24 with prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen,” CBP said in a release. Amoxicillin is a drug more commonly known as penicillin. The child began throwing up and died just hours later, according to CBP.
Border Patrol said they want to make it easier for medical options, including access to factions like the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA, the CDC, and others.
But that doesn’t heal the wounds for the family of Alonzo-Gomez, said Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman-elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Newsweek reported.
“While the CBP notified Congress within 24 hours as mandated by law, 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,” Castro said in the statement.
Furthermore, the CBP said the Homeland Security Department is bringing in more children than expected, and that more medical screening will be needed at entry points.
Earlier this month, a 7-year-old girl died while in custody of CBP on Dec. 8 — less than two days after her custody.
“Many questions remain unanswered, including how many children have died in CBP custody,” Castro said, as reported by Newsweek.