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US immigration authorities declared on Tuesday that Félix Gómez Alonzo, an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy, died while in the custody of the border patrol, becoming the second young child to die in December under these circumstances.
The boy was detained along with his father on December 18th. According to a press release, he was taken to the hospital on Christmas Eve after showing “signs of potential illness”, and then discharged with a prescription for ibuprofen and antibiotics.
The boy returned to the hospital that night after his symptoms became more severe and died after midnight. So far, no other information about the case has been released.
His death occurs a few weeks after the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, also Guatemalan, in the custody of the border patrol. She and her father were part of a group of 161 asylum seekers that reached to the U.S.-Mexico border. Border Patrol agents only took Jakelin to the hospital after her body temperature soared to more than 105.7 degrees.
All this takes place while there is still thousands of migrants from a caravan originating from Central America who waiting to come to the U.S. Most of them are coming from Honduras, a country that has suffered the consequences of decades of American economic, political and military interventions. These migrants are fleeing the violence of gangs, state and paramilitary forces, as well as growing poverty and joblessness.
The Trump Administration has only escalated its xenophobic policies in recent months, announcing its intention to spend $5 billion on improving and enlarging the existing wall between Mexico and U.S.
Trump already partially shut down the government, affecting about 800,000 federal workers, to demand funding for his wall. Even though Democrats now refuse to approve further spending on the wall, their administrations were and continue to share responsibility for the current situation. For years under the Obama Administration, security forces at the southern border were increased, the number of detention centers grew, and the powers of ICE expanded.
It is important to multiply the voices against these crimes, fight for full rights for immigrants and for #OpenBorders.
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