Border patrol official says agency understands humanitarian mission at the border

Border patrol chief of operations Brian Hastings on Thursday said his agency understands the humanitarian mission at the U.S.-Mexico border following the deaths of two migrant children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. 

"Yes, we are doing additional checks," Hastings told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton when asked about a new policy at the border to give children under 17 immediate medical check-ups. 

Hastings went on to highlight various rescues in the border region at the hands of border patrol agents. 

"So far, this year, we're averaging about 63 individuals per day who were taken for further immediate medical care at different facilities," he continued. "So that is very taxing as well because we have to transport the subjects to the hospital. We spend a lot of time there at the hospital while they're being treated." 

"We understand the humanitarian mission, very important and critical, but [it] pulls from the resources that we have for [our] national security mission," he said. 

Two migrant children have died in U.S. custody at the border in recent weeks, resulting in calls by Democrats to investigate the Department of Homeland Security.

Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, died in federal custody of dehydration and shock early last month, while Felipe Gomez Alonzo, an 8-year-old boy also from Guatemala, died after being sent to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. 

CBP has since ordered medical checks on all children in its custody, while the Department of Homeland Security vowed to change how it handles the health of migrant children. 

— Julia Manchester