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U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities confirmed that an eight-year-old boy from Guatemala died in their custody early Christmas morning.
According to the Associated Press, the as-yet unidentified child was being held near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Immigration officials said that the boy showed “signs of potential illness” on Monday evening. He was reportedly taken to a hospital in Alamogordo on December 24 and given amoxicillin and Ibuprofen for a cold and a fever.
The boy was released but returned later in the evening with worsening symptoms. Reports indicate that he was nauseous and vomiting, eventually passing away in the early morning hours on December 25.
Democratic congresswoman-elect Xochitl Torres Small had some harsh words for the agency and the Trump administration following the death in her district.
“This is inexcusable,” she said in a statement shared with the AP. “Instead of immediately acting to keep children and all of us safe along our border, this administration forced a government shutdown over a wall.”
The migrant child's' death in CBP custody is the second such incident in a month. A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl named Jakelin Caal passed away earlier this month after arriving in the country and being apprehended. Her body arrived in her remote village on Monday, with a scheduled burial on December 25. The agency promised “an independent and thorough review of the circumstances” that led to the the second death of a child in their custody in December.
The deaths come as issues like border security and immigration are on the minds of many U.S. lawmakers. The government recently entered a shutdown over fights to fund President Trump's proposed border wall.