Two Guatemalan children in US Border Patrol custody died. Immigration authorities said the children passed initial health checks but President Trump contradicted them by claiming the children were sick when they came to the border. Eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo died on Christmas Eve. The mother of the boy, who migrated to the border hoping to enter the US with his father, informed AP journalists her son was well when he left their village. Felipe called her saying he was fine repeatedly during the trek and once he arrived at the border. An autopsy done on Felipe in New Mexico shows he had the flu but whether he died from the flu is not certain.
Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal died on December 8. The cause for Jakelin’s death is unclear but she was vomiting on the day of her death. This week, CBP Commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, stated prior to this December, no child died under their wing for decades.
This past Saturday, President Trump took to Twitter and blamed Democratic immigration policies for the deaths of migrant children in bleak living conditions.
Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try! The two…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2018
El Salvador opposed Trump’s claim that countries in Central America’s Northern Triangle region make no efforts to staunch migration out of their countries. On Saturday, El Salvador sent out a statement regarding a national media campaign advising against migration to the US, especially in the company of children.
On Friday and Saturday, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, went to El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona following Felipe’s death. On Friday, Nielsen met with Republican Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso. With the assistance of non-profit organizations and volunteers in El Paso, CBP is implementing new medical screening procedures for accompanied and unaccompanied minors. Given the increase of family units found by the border in October and November, Nielsen admitted, “The system is clearly overwhelmed”.
No headway was made in financing for the border wall which former chief of staff, John Kelly, expanded on to the Los Angeles Times. In actuality, the border wall is not a concrete wall but a type of steel fencing. On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway relayed to CNN that the President favored the $5.6 billion included in the House bill worked out before the partial government shutdown. She testified to the President’s willingness to negotiate by stating his whereabouts in Washington and asserted Nancy Pelosi is in Hawaii.
Until Senate Democrats and the President can agree on a compromise, no progress will be made in reopening the government. Also on Sunday’s “State of the Union” program on CNN, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN the government may reopen when Democrats are offered incentives in exchange for their approval of hefty funding for the border barrier.
Featured Image via Flickr/US Department of Homeland Security