8-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy Dies In Customs Border Patrol Custody

Saul Bowman
December 26, 2018

He died shortly after midnight on Christmas Day.

A Guatemalan girl, 7, died earlier this month after being apprehended by border agents.

CBP officials said in a release that a review will be conducted, as is procedure, and the Guatemalan government has been notified.

The cause of the child's death is not known. 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 centers.

The boy's death comes weeks after the December 8 death of 7-year-old Jackeline Caal, a Guatemalan girl who died from dehydration in DHS custody after crossing the border from Mexico with her father. The Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General and appropriate members of Congress have also been notified.

Jakelin's family has disputed CBP reports that the child went several days without food and water before she died, saying she was healthy when she arrived in the United States.

The girl and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, had been traveling with a group of 163 migrants who were arrested on December 6 near a border crossing in New Mexico. Ruben Garcia, director of El Paso's Annunciation House, said on Tuesday that he had no reason to believe his shelter had served the family, but was waiting for further details about what happened.

Monday night, officials said the boy began vomiting and was taken back to the medical center, where officials say he died shortly after midnight Tuesday.

The symptoms the 8-year-old boy exhibited are similar to the ones Jakelin manifested before she died.

"The initial screening revealed no evidence of health issues". It added that they were offered food and water, and had access to restrooms.

Caal's wake was held on Monday, Christmas Eve, in her family's village.

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