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CBP to perform medical checks on detained migrant children after second death

Hours after a second Guatemalan child died in custody, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it will perform medical checks on every child in detention under the age of 10.

An 8-year-old boy, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, died Tuesday while in CBP custody. Officials said the boy had a cough with "glossy eyes" and 103-degree fever Monday, and was taken to the hospital, given medication and released. He returned after his conditions worsened and died.

Late Tuesday, the agency announced the medical checks for all detained migrant children under 10 years old. The agency said it's also reviewing how it holds immigrants to relieve crowding in its El Paso, Texas, centers.

CBP said in a statement it is "considering options for surge medical assistance" from the Coast Guard and could also reach out to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Alonzo and his father were detained about 3 miles from the Paso del Norte bridge in El Paso, officials said. They were taken to the El Paso Border Patrol station Thursday and moved to Alamogordo, N.M., at 1 a.m. Sunday "because of capacity levels at the El Paso station.

CBP typically doesn't keep immigrants in holding facilities for more than 72 hours because they don't have the services offered at the larger ICE detention centers. The agency didn't say why they were held so long.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told CBS News Wednesday more resources are needed to help the children and said the border posts were built decades ago to house adult males, not children or families.

"We need help from Congress. We need to budget for medical care and mental health care for children in our facilities and I'm committed to improving our conditions, even as we work on the broader problems," he said.

More children than ever are entering the country illegally. The CBP has 1,500 emergency medical technicians who are co-trained as law enforcement officers.

"At this pace in December we'll have almost 25,000 children, most of them accompanied by parents who have crossed our border and arriving in custody ... that's very different than we've seen before," McAlleenan said.

Alonzo is the second child to die in CBP custody this month. Jakelin Caal, 7, died earlier this month and her body was returned to Guatemala for burial this week. Her temperature was measured as high as 105.7 degrees.

The migrants spent weeks trekking to the United States from Central America. The Trump administration has vowed not to let them in on asylum grounds, as part of its firm stance against illegal immigration. President Donald Trump said Tuesday the partial government shutdown would not end until he got the $5 billion in funding for a border wall.

Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said the administration's "policies of cruelty toward migrants and asylum-seekers at the border must cease immediately before any more children are harmed."

Rep.-elect Xochitl Torres Small, who will represent El Paso in the House of Representatives, called for a thorough investigation into the children's deaths and medical treatment along the border.

"This is inexcusable," he said. "Instead of immediately acting to keep children and all of us safe along our border, this administration forced a government shutdown over a wall."

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