CBP issued a statement stressing that the death of the boy, identified in a statement from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez from Guatemala, as well as the earlier death of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl named Jakelin Caal, were rare occurrences that were devastating to the agency.
In its statement, CBP also highlighted its need for help from other government agencies in order to provide healthcare. The agency “is considering options for surge medical assistance” from the US Coast Guard and may also request help from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The CBP commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, told CBS’s This Morning show on Wednesday that because of illegal attempts to cross the border, CBP processes thousands of children – both alone and with their parents – every month.
“This is a tragic loss. On behalf of US Customs and Border Protection, our deepest sympathies go out to the family," McAleenan said.
CBP also said it has notified the DHS inspector general about the death of the 8-year-old boy. US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Wednesday that she will travel to the US-Mexico border later this week to check the conditions of Border Patrol stations following the second death of a migrant child.
“I will be travelling to the border later this week to see first-hand the medical screenings and conditions at Border Patrol stations,” Nielsen announced in a press release.