Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials said on Wednesday that the 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody this week did so after his alleged father declined additional medical treatment.
The boy, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, was initially taken to the hospital after CBP agents noticed that he was sick and was "diagnosed with the common cold, given prescription medications and discharged," ABC St. Louis reported.
A spokesperson for DHS said on Wednesday that the boy later continued to complain about not feeling well and started vomiting, "but the man claiming to be his father told agents that the boy did not need to return to the hospital and that 'he had been feeling better.'"
The agents later checked on the boy and noticed that his condition had worsened, at which point they decided to take him back to the hospital where he later died.
"Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote on Wednesday. "Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north."
CBP has since ordered, "'pediatric evaluations' of all illegal immigrant children currently in CBP custody and an overhaul of CBP medical evaluation policies — as well as a probe into whether Mexican shelters, which are providing temporary respite for migrants as they cross through the country, are actually incubators of disease," The Daily Wire reported.
"I've explained to Congress ... that what we're seeing with these flows, of huge numbers of families with lots of children, young children, as well as unaccompanied minors coming into Border Patrol custody after crossing the border unlawfully, that our stations are not built for that group that's crossing today," CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said during a Wednesday interview on CBS.
"They were built 30 to 40 years ago for single adult males, and we need a different approach," McAleenan added. "We need help from Congress. We need to budget for medical care and mental health care for children in our facilities."