PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Immigration advocates want to make sure U.S. Customs and Border Protection follows through on a series of new protocols to protect migrant children in their custody.
CBP revealed Wednesday that an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died before midnight Christmas Eve after being diagnosed with a common cold. The boy is the second child to die in CBP custody this month.
“The fact that they realize changes have to be made is a positive,” says Ruben Reyes who serves as a director on the board for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “Unfortunately for these two children, it is too late.”
Reyes has concerns about how CBP will implement the new policies.
CPB says it will review its policies for custody and care of migrant children under age 10. The process began with another round of medical checks for children in their care. To maintain continued medical care for kids, CBP is considering reaching out to federal partners like the Coast Guard, the Defense Department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The coordination of these agencies, of these resources, is a technical task that requires organizational expertise,” says Reyes.
He believes this may prove difficult during government shutdown affecting some functions of the Department of Homeland Security.
Reyes says he’d like to know where these medical checks will take place and who will be conducting them.
“There are some ports of entry that are so remote, so far out, that having let’s say a space to hold 10 people with a toilet may be too much to ask,” says Reyes.
He says medical professionals must be in charge of making sure kids are receiving necessary care.
“It would be a very different story to put that on an officer who is not a trained medical professional who is, at best, guessing as to the true nature of what the child is suffering from.”