The Latest: Dad: Migrant child who died not previously ill

HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on the death of an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala who U.S. officials say has died in government custody (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

The father of the 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. government custody says his son had shown no signs of illness before falling sick Monday, the same day he died.

That’s according to Oscar Padilla, the Guatemalan consul in Phoenix, who met Wednesday with Agustin Gomez, the father of Felipe Gomez Alonzo. Guatemalan officials have identified Felipe as the child who died on Christmas Eve.

Padilla says Agustin Gomez told him Felipe wasn’t sick when they were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border on Dec. 18 or in the five days to follow. Felipe was hospitalized Monday after a border agent noticed he was coughing. He was released from the hospital Monday afternoon, but taken back that night.

Gomez told the consul that he carried Felipe in his arms as they were taken to the hospital for the second and last time.


2:20 p.m.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says she’s ordered “extraordinary protective measures” after the death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan child in immigration custody.

Nielsen said in a statement Wednesday that she had asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate what she says is an “uptick in sick children crossing our borders.” She also wants the U.S. Coast Guard to examine the medical programs offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that detained the 8-year-old and his father for a week.

Nielsen also pledged that all children in the future will receive a “more thorough” medical screening after they are apprehended.

The boy, identified by Guatemalan officials as Felipe Gomez Alonzo, was the second child to die in CBP custody this month.


10:30 a.m.

The Department of Homeland Security says it has completed new medical screenings of almost all the children in the care of the U.S. Border Patrol.

The screenings were ordered after an 8-year-old child died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The boy, identified by Guatemalan officials as Felipe Gomez Alonzo, was the second migrant child to die in CBP’s custody this month.

The department said Wednesday some children detained in more remote areas were re-screened by emergency medical technicians or Border Patrol agents. In other places, some children were taken to medical facilities.

DHS wouldn’t say exactly how many children are in Border Patrol custody.


8:15 a.m.

The head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the recent deaths of two immigrant children are “an extraordinarily rare occurrence” that is “devastating” to the agency.

Speaking Wednesday to “CBS This Morning,” CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan says that before this month, it had been more than a decade since a child died in the agency’s care.

McAleenan says officers have been conducting medical checks and doing “dozens of hospital trips every day” for ill children. He says the agency is seeing more children than ever in its custody.

An 8-year-old boy died late Monday in CBP care and a 7-year-old girl died earlier this month. Both were from Guatemala.


3:30 a.m.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has ordered medical checks on every child in its custody after an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala died, marking the second death of an immigrant child in the agency’s care this month.

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 boy, identified by Guatemalan authorities as Felipe Gómez Alonzo, had been in CBP’s custody with his father, Agustin Gomez, since Dec. 18. CBP said in a statement late Tuesday that an agent first noticed the boy had a cough and “glossy eyes” at about 9 a.m. Monday. He was eventually hospitalized twice and died.

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