Feinstein asks for hearing after deaths of two children in CBP custody

Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday called for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing early next year following the deaths of two children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.

Feinstein, the ranking member on the committee, wrote a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — the incoming chairman of the committee — requesting a hearing “upon our return on the care and treatment of children in the custody of Customs and Border Protection.”

{mosads}Feinstein, who posted the letter to Twitter, called the deaths of Jakelin Caal Maquin and Felipe Gómez Alonzo “heartbreaking incidents” and said the Judiciary Committee is “uniquely situated to examine these issues.”

“These heartbreaking incidents are sadly consistent with previous reports of widespread abuse of children in immigration custody and the judgment of medical and mental health organizations that Border Patrol facilities are not adequately staffed or equipped to properly care for children,” she wrote.

“Our committee is uniquely situated to examine these issues and I hope we can schedule a hearing immediately in the new year,” Feinstein added.

A spokesperson for Graham did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

CBP officials announced earlier this week that Felipe, an 8-year old Guatemalan boy, died in the agency’s custody on Monday night. He was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital in New Mexico.

His death followed the death of Jakelin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, while in CBP custody earlier this month.

Both of the deaths are currently under investigation, and Democrats in Congress have pledged further investigations once Democrats have control of the House next week. 

Tags death in custody Dianne Feinstein Lindsey Graham Senate Judiciary Committee

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