Members of Congress tour US Border Patrol facility where 8-year-old Felipe Gomez died
Catarina Gomez via Associated Press
- At least nine Democratic Congressmembers, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, toured the US Border Patrol facility where 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo died in December.
- The group, led by CHC Chairman Joaquín Castro and New Mexico Representative Xotchil Torres Small, were there to investigate the circumstances of the young boy's death.
- Their visit comes days before President Donald Trump is set to visit the border this week.
At least nine Democratic members of Congress visited the New Mexico border patrol facility where 8-year-old Felipe Goméz Alonzo, a Guatemalan migrant, died last month to investigate the circumstances of his death.
Led by Congressional Hispanic Caucus Joaquin Castro and New Mexico's newly-elected 2nd District Rep. Xochtil Torres Small, the members of Congress went down to the facility in Alamogordo. Torres Small told Politico that the visit was made to ensure that "another tragedy does not happen again."
Goméz Alonzo was detained on December 18 with his father at this Border Patrol facility. He was transferred to the hospital six days later, on Christmas Eve, because he was exhibiting flu-like symptoms, according to Department of Homeland Security officials. He was diagnosed with a cold and sent back to the detention center. Later that night, he was rushed again to the hospital by Border Patrol agents, where he died.
His death came less than a month after 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, another Guatemalan migrant, died under similar circumstances.
"The deaths of Felipe and Jakelin are inexcusable," Torres Small told Politico. "Their deaths have highlighted a new reality on the border, and DHS hasn't adapted quick enough to the changing circumstances on the border to keep children and families, agents, and our communities safe."
"If you go into CBP processing centers or detention centers, no American would be proud," he said, referring to the way migrants are being treated there.
Castro said Border Patrol facilities at the border need the necessary supplies, staff and safety measures to secure the lives of migrants.
"We spoke to CBP officers who patrol areas that don't have radio communication or cell phone service where they are," Castro said.
The visit by the congressional delegation comes the same day President Donald Trump announced his own intentions to visit the southern border. No details about his trip have been announced, but Trump is expected to visit the US-Mexico border on Thursday.
The government is currently still under partial shutdown due to Trump's demands for $5.7 billion to fund his proposed border wall.