WASHINGTON – An eight-year-old boy from Guatemala has died while in US custody near the border to Mexico, officials said on Tuesday, making it the second confirmed death of an immigrant minor in US custody this month.
“The official cause of the child’s death is not known,” the Customs and Border Protection agency confirmed, saying a review would be carried out and that the Guatemalan government has been notified.
Previously, officials announced the death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died while in US custody. She suffered a high fever and died in hospital. Her body was returned to her village just before Christmas.
The girl and her father had been arrested along with a larger group of migrants who had made a long journey north from Central America and crossed into the US illegally.
The eight-year-old boy was treated on Monday at a hospital and released but later suffered worsening conditions and was sent back to the medics. He passed away shortly after midnight.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen went before lawmakers this month to give testimony and faced a grilling when she was unable to say how many people have died in custody near the border.
US President Donald Trump’s border policy has been sharply criticized by liberals, including a since reversed decision to arrest families crossing illegally and separate children.
Trump continues to push for a border wall in areas where there is no physical barrier along on the US-Mexico frontier. -DPA