8-year-old boy dies in CBP custody

An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody has died, the agency said in a news release.
 
The boy died shortly before midnight Monday after being transferred to the hospital earlier in the day, CBP stated.
 
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According to the report, the boy's father was with him in the hospital, where he was initially diagnosed with a cold. After doctors discovered a fever, he was kept for observation for 90 minutes, but then released with prescriptions for antibiotics and pain relievers.
 
CBP has ordered medical checks on all children in its custody following the boy's death.
 
The child, whose name was not released, returned to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center later that evening with symptoms of nausea and vomiting, where he passed away.
 
CBP says the official cause of death remains unknown and it will conduct an investigation. 
 
The unnamed boy is the second child to die in recent weeks in CBP custody. A 7-year-old girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, died earlier this month after she and her father were apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.
 
The deaths have taken place against a backdrop of political turmoil on the border, with President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE railing over the dangers of caravans of Central Americans seeking to enter the United States.
 
Parts of the U.S. government also shut down on Saturday in a fight over funding for Trump's wall on the Mexican border. 
 
In the statement, CBP noted that the Department of Homeland Security "has continued to see a dramatic increase in unaccompanied children and family units arriving at our borders illegally or without authorization."
 
The Trump administration's hard-line policies on the border have been controversial and have sparked repeated attacks from Democrats, which are only likely to step up after the latest death.

Congressional Democrats expressed outrage at the news.

"What is happening at our southern border?! This makes the second death of a young child at our border in as many weeks. This is outrageous! This shocks the conscience," Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeTexas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order Lobbying world House approves bill banning flavored tobacco products MORE (D-Texas) wrote.

 

"This will not go unanswered," wrote Rep. Lou CorreaJose (Lou) Luis CorreaActivists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package Hillicon Valley: HHS hit by cyberattack amid coronavirus outbreak | Senators urge FCC to shore up internet access for students | Sanders ramps up Facebook ad spending | Dems ask DHS to delay Real ID deadline House Dems ask DHS to delay Real ID deadline MORE (D-Calif.).

Rep. Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralObama presses for social distancing policies to remain in place Self-quarantined New York lawmaker: 'We should be in total lockdown' Activists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package MORE (D-N.Y.) said CBP was unprepared for dealing with medical emergencies. "It is clear #CBP is not trained nor prepared to provide medical or emergency responses to anyone in its custody & especially not to children," he wrote.

Maquin, also a Guatemala national, had begun having seizures roughly eight hours after being taken into custody with her father. Emergency responders measured her temperature at over 105 degrees, according to the Washington Post. She died within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital.

The girl's family and CBP dispute the details of her death. CBP said that she had reportedly not consumed food or water in several days, but denies allegations from her family that it did not provide food or water during the first eight hours they were detained.

The family and CBP also dispute when the girl was showing signs of illness. Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroBlack, Latino communities suffering disproportionately from coronavirus, statistics show Lawmakers call on Trump administration to address Puerto Rico's vulnerability to COVID-19 Texas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order MORE (D-Texas), one of roughly a dozen Congressional Democrats who visited the site following Maquin's death, said that it was the result of "some very disturbing systematic failures."

Updated on Wednesday at 7:35 a.m.