Felipe Gómez Alonzo, an eight-year-old boy detained by US Customs and Border Protection, passed away late Christmas Eve, marking him the second child to die in the agency’s custody. Felipe and his father, Agustin Gomez were held since Dec. 18, an unusually long duration for the standard 72-hour-or-less holding time. Felipe’s health took a turn Monday morning around 9 am, when agents noticed he had a cough and that his eyes were glossed over, resulting in two separate hospitalizations.
The timeline provided by the CBP states that because of his 103 degree fever, he was diagnosed with a common cold, given some ibuprofen and amoxicillin and told to return to a highway checkpoint’s holding facility. There, he began vomiting. It was at that point that the father declined further medical assistance, per the CBP, but when agents noticed he “appeared lethargic and nauseous again,” per AP, he was hospitalized for the second time. Felipe died a few hours later, just twelve minutes before Christmas.
Critics of the Trump administration’s hostile policies are calling for reform while the president ignores the situation with his literal and metaphorical wall. Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said the “policies of cruelty toward migrants and asylum-seekers at the border must cease immediately before any more children are harmed,” per AP.
Xochitl Torres Small, who will represent El Paso in congress beginning in January, said, “this is inexcusable. Instead of immediately acting to keep children and all of us safe along our border, this administration forced a government shutdown over a wall,” per AP.
Felipe’s blood is on Trump’s hands, yet all he can talk about is his wall. In a meeting with reporters on Tuesday, he reiterated his childlike refrain about the government shutdown, saying “I can’t tell you when the government’s going to be open. I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they’d like to call it.”
The CBP is less concerned about the wall. Actually, the agency says it’s “considering options for surge medical assistance” from the Coast Guard and is even thinking about soliciting help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But Trump needs $5 billion for his wall.