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Investigation into the deaths of two migrant children in custody

Last month saw troubling events at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Two young Guatemalan children died while in a detention facility at the border.

Jakelin Caal, a seven-year-old migrant girl, died of undisclosed causes at the beginning of December. Jakelin’s family reports that she was in good health during her entire journey across Mexico—and had no pre-existing conditions. Meanwhile, CBP reports that during her trip, Jakelin did not eat or drink anything for days.

On Christmas Day, the death of an eight-year-old boy, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, was also announced. Reports indicate that prior to his death, he presented serious symptoms—including a cough, glossy eyes, vomiting and loss of consciousness. The boy’s autopsy results were vague—and the New Mexico medical investigator stated that further evaluation will be necessary to determine his cause of death.

To date, CBP has not provided an adequate explanation surrounding the death of these two children. These incidents have sparked nation-wide concern about the conditions of migrant detention facilities. Detainees have described the conditions as being freezing cold, cramped and unsuitable to house children.

Now, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is demanding answers. This group of democratic legislators is initiating a complete investigation into these incidents. Members of the group have traveled to the detention facilities at the border to talk to the border patrol agents who were on duty at the time of these children’s detention. They also want to examine relevant Department of Homeland Security documents.

The investigation is currently underway. In the wake of these tragedies, it is hoped that these investigations will bring some amount of justice for the children who died—and lead to improved conditions in migrant detention facilities moving forward.

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