US border control authorities have ordered all migrant children in detention to undergo medical examinations following the death on Christmas night of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy, sixteen days after a girl’s death from the same country.
This tragedy immediately revived the debate on the fate of migrant children, Democrats lambasting “contempt for human life” of the Trump administration and calling for “put an end to this anti-migrant policy.”
The boy, arrested by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), was “transferred immediately” Monday with his father to a hospital in New Mexico after showing “signs of possible illness”, according to a CBP press release sent to AFP.
The medical team first diagnosed a “simple cold”, but the boy then had a fever, the authorities said. He was kept under observation for an hour and a half and left the hospital on Monday at noon, with prescribed medication.
In the evening, the child suffered from nausea and vomiting and was again transferred to the medical center, where he died Monday just before midnight, according to CBP.
The causes of death have not been established, says CBP, which promised an “independent and thorough review of the circumstances” of the death.
Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan then announced that the agency “was conducting medical examinations on all children detained by CBP” and “was reviewing its procedures with special attention to the custody and detention of children under the age of majority. of 10 years “.
Guatemala, the country of origin of the child, asked “the American authorities a transparent and serious investigation on this case”. “Medical reports have been requested to clarify the causes of death,” the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Guatemalan authorities said the child and his father were arrested on Dec. 18 as they crossed the US border into the city of El Paso, Texas. On the 23rd, they were transferred to the Border Police Station at Alamogordo (New Mexico, South).
– “Broken Heart” –
New Democrat Senator Martin Heinrich said on Twitter that he has “a broken heart”. “The Trump administration is accountable for the death of this child and for all the lives she has endangered with her willful chaos and contempt for human life.”
“A story so appalling to hear on Christmas Day,” said Marc Veasy, elected Texas Democrat in the House of Representatives on Twitter.
“We must demand transparency, provide answers and put an end to this administration’s anti-migrant policy, dangerous and hateful,” tweeted Nydia Velazquez, a Democratic parliamentarian from New York.
– “Dream” –
Already, on December 8, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl had lost her life after being arrested by US border guards after a long journey. She had died of septic shock after being admitted to a hospital in El Paso, Texas.
The death of Jakelin Caal caused a shock wave in the United States, where thousands of migrant children are held in overcrowded structures.
She was buried Tuesday in her homeland at the San Antonio Secortez cemetery, a remote village in the indigenous town of Raxruhá, 150 km north of the capital, Guatemala.
“This girl left home happy, looking for a dream, but unfortunately she died on the way,” said Alberto Pop, the head of the Mayan community where the child was born.
The Trump administration has made the fight against illegal immigration its hobbyhorse. In June, the policy of systematic separation of minor migrants from their parents had provoked such indignation that the US president had to review his copy by banning this practice.
Donald Trump also deployed in October the National Guard and the army, near the Mexican border, the approach of a caravan of Central American migrants.
He is currently fighting with Congress to secure funding for his wall project on the border with Mexico, a promise of his presidential campaign in 2016.
Immigration to the United States currently comes mainly from Central American countries (Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala), whole families fleeing to escape violence and gang crime.