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8-year-old Guatemalan child died on Christmas in Border Patrol custody, agency says

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An 8-year-old migrant child from Guatemala died at a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico shortly after midnight on December 25 after being apprehended by US Customs and Border Protection, the agency said in a statement that was first reported by the San Antonio Express News.

Citing initial reporting, the statement said a border patrol agent noticed the child showed signs of potential illness while in CBP custody on December 24. It continued and said the father and son were “promptly transferred” to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo.

Though the child was initially diagnosed with a common cold, the statement said, hospital staff later found he had a fever. After being held for observation for another 90 minutes, the child was released from the hospital on Monday afternoon with prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen.

The child’s identity and cause of death is unknown.

The death of the Guatemalan child comes after a 7-year-old migrant girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, died in Border Patrol custody earlier this month after she was unable to access emergency medical care until roughly 90 minutes after she first began showing symptoms.

Jakelin died on December 8, shortly after she and her father were apprehended while illegally crossing into a remote area of the desert in New Mexico as part of a group of 163 migrants.

The Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, drew backlash on Friday after appearing to blame Jakelin’s death on the family members who brought her across the US-Mexico border.

In an interview with “Fox & Friends” early Friday morning, Nielsen told the hosts that the girl’s death “is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey” migrants take.

“This family chose to cross illegally,” she said. “What happened here was that they were about 90 miles away from where we could process them. They came in such a large crowd that it took our Border Patrol folks a couple of times to get them all.”

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