Alamogordo, NM – The father of an eight-year-old Guatemalan boy who died Christmas Eve denied attempts from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to give the child further medical treatment.
Felipe Gomez Alonzo was given multiple medical examinations by doctors at a local hospital, and was released with prescription medications, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
After the boy was first released from Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, he and his father were put into a temporary holding facility where CBP agents were aware of his condition and gave the family medication, according to a spokesman from the Department of Homeland Security.
A few hours after the father and boy were in the holding facility, the boy complained of being sick to his stomach and later vomited, according to DHS.
However, the father at that point declined further medical treatment for his boy and told officials his son “had been feeling better,” according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official.
While doing a later welfare check, agents at the facility noticed the boy’s deteriorating condition and decided to transport him to the hospital out of an abundance of caution.
The boy later lost consciousness during transit to the hospital and was declared dead just before midnight.
The boy’s cause of death has still not been determined.
The New York Times had questioned the ability of federal agents to care for migrants in U.S. facilities in a Dec. 25 article titled, “8-Year-Old Migrant Child From Guatemala Dies in U.S. Custody”.
USA Today ran a story Dec. 26 with the headline, “How many immigrant children need to die before border policies change? A second Guatemalan child has died shortly after crossing the U.S. border. Who should be held responsible?”
The death of the boy comes two weeks after the death of a seven-year-old girl in CBP custody in Texas.
Guatemalan Consul Tekandi Paniagua told CNN that the girl’s father, Nery Gilberto Caal, said the agents did everything within their power to help his daughter, Jakelin Caal Maquin, after she became sick on a bus that had traveled from the Antelope Wells Port of Entry which is an international border crossing in New Mexico to a border patrol station in Lordsburg, New Mexico, according to CNN.
The seven-year-old girl died December 8 while at a hospital in El Paso, Texas.
The girl’s father released a statement via his lawyers that said he was “grateful for the many first responders that tried to save young Jakelin’s life in New Mexico and Texas,” according to CNN.