FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2018, file photo, Annunciation House director Ruben Garcia answers questions from the media after reading a statement from the family of Jakelin Caal Maquin, pictured at left, during a press briefing at Casa Vides in downtown El Paso, Texas. Maquin had received her first pair of shoes several weeks ago, when her father said they would set out together for the U.S., thousands of miles from her impoverished Guatemalan village. Instead she died in a Texas hospital two days after being taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert. (Rudy Gutierrez/The El Paso Times via AP, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2018, file photo, Annunciation House director Ruben Garcia answers questions from the media after reading a statement from the family of Jakelin Caal Maquin, pictured at left, during a press briefing at Casa Vides in downtown El Paso, Texas. Maquin had received her first pair of shoes several weeks ago, when her father said they would set out together for the U.S., thousands of miles from her impoverished Guatemalan village. Instead she died in a Texas hospital two days after being taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert. (Rudy Gutierrez/The El Paso Times via AP, File)

U.S. says 2nd Guatemalan child dies in immigration custody

HOUSTON — An 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died in government custody in New Mexico early Tuesday, U.S. immigration authorities said, marking the second death of an immigrant child in detention this month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release that the boy died shortly after midnight.

The death came during an ongoing dispute over border security and with a partial government shutdown underway over President Donald Trump’s request for border wall funding. The White House referred questions to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, CBP’s parent agency. CBP officers and the Border Patrol remain on the job despite the shutdown.

The agency said the boy showed “signs of potential illness” on Monday and was taken with his father to a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he was diagnosed with a cold and a fever. The boy was prescribed amoxicillin and Ibuprofen and released Monday afternoon after being held 90 minutes for observation, the agency said.

The boy was returned to the hospital Monday evening with nausea and vomiting and died there just hours later, CBP said.

According to Guatemala’s foreign ministry, the father and son entered the U.S. at El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 18, then were taken to the Border Patrol’s Alamogordo station Sunday. Alamogordo is about 90 miles (145 kilometres) from El Paso.

CBP typically detains immigrants for no more than a few days when they cross the border before either releasing them or turning them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for longer-term detention. Agency guidelines say immigrants generally shouldn’t be detained for more than 72 hours in CBP holding facilities, which are usually smaller and have fewer services than ICE’s detention centres.

Parents and children together are almost always released quickly due to limited space in ICE’s family detention facilities.

A CBP spokesman on Tuesday did not respond to questions about the ministry’s statement. CBP has not yet confirmed when or where the father and son entered the United States or how long they were detained, saying only in its statement that the boy had been “previously apprehended” by its agents.

The agency said the cause of the boy’s death has not been determined and that it has notified the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general and the Guatemalan government.

The hospital — the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center — declined to comment, citing privacy regulations.

CBP promised “an independent and thorough review of the circumstances.”

The Guatemalan foreign ministry called for an investigation “in accordance with due process.”

Ruben Garcia, director of El Paso’s Annunciation House, said Tuesday that he had no reason to believe his shelter had served the family, but was waiting for further details about what happened.

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died earlier this month after being apprehended by border agents in New Mexico. The body of the girl, Jakelin Caal, was returned to her family’s remote village Monday for burial Tuesday.

Large numbers of Guatemalan families have been arriving in recent weeks in New Mexico, often in remote and dangerous parts of the desert. Jakelin and her father were with 161 other people when they were apprehended in Antelope Wells, about 230 miles (370 kilometres) southwest of Alamogordo.

CBP announced new notification procedures in response to Jakelin’s death, which was not revealed until several days later.

Democratic members of Congress and immigration advocates sharply criticized CBP’s handling of the death and questioned whether border agents could have prevented it by spotting symptoms of distress or calling for an evacuation by air ambulance sooner. CBP has said that it took several hours to transport Jakelin and her father from a remote Border Patrol facility to a larger station and then a hospital in El Paso.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, a Republican whose district along the U.S.-Mexico border includes Alamogordo, did not respond to messages Tuesday.

Xochitl Torres Small, a Democrat who will represent the district starting in January, called for a thorough and transparent investigation into the children’s deaths and more medical resources along the border.

“This is inexcusable,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “Instead of immediately acting to keep children and all of us safe along our border, this administration forced a government shutdown over a wall.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday, March 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau announces donation to Duke of Edinburgh’s award ahead of funeral

Canada will donate $200,000 to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as… Continue reading

Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science) Will Amos responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. The Liberal MP who inadvertently flashed his parliamentary colleagues says the fact that a screenshot of him in the nude was leaked to the media sends a troubling message about the corrosive state of politics in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
Canada’s naked MP speaks out: leaked photo sends message ‘anything goes’ in politics

OTTAWA — The Liberal MP who inadvertently flashed his parliamentary colleagues says… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $10 million jackpot… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Canada’s self-esteem needs Trump

Well, it was fun while it lasted. For four years, with Donald… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Shenanigans on the links

It must be something about my Scottish heritage but I seem to… Continue reading

Most Read