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Second Guatemalan child dies in DHS custody after illegal border journey

December 25, 2018

An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who jumped the Mexican border with his father and was caught by the Border Patrol died while in federal custody early Tuesday, Homeland Security officials said.

The death follows one earlier this month of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, in an incident that left Democrats saying the Trump administration had blood on its hands.

In this latest death, Border Patrol agents said they spotted signs of potential illness on Monday and took the boy and his father to a hospital, where the child was diagnosed with a common cold then found to have a fever.

The child was treated with amoxicillin and ibuprofen and then released Monday afternoon back to the Border Patrol.

But later that evening, he was vomiting and was sent back to the hospital. He died early Tuesday, Homeland Security said.

Officials did not detail the circumstances of the crossing nor how long the family was in Border Patrol custody, but the boy and his father are part of the surge of illegal immigrants from Central America who are testing the capacity of immigration authorities.

Earlier this month a 7-month-old Guatemalan girl and her father were caught as part of a group of more than 160 illegal immigrants in remote New Mexico. Agents screened the family when they were caught, and the father said there was no medical issue, but hours later she became sick then stopped breathing, had to be revived twice by agents, and was flown to a hospital where she died after liver failure, heart attack and respiratory failure.

Officials say the girl and her father jumped the border late at night in a remote part of New Mexico, making it difficult to quickly process the massive group.

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