On Christmas day, U.S. President Donald Trump renews calls for a border wall, and an 8-year-old boy under the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has died. This is the second time a child has died this month under CBP’s watch.
The boy was stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border with his father. He became visibly ill on December 24 and was sent to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in New Mexico, according to ABC News. He was monitored there for 90 minutes and given amoxicillin and ibuprofen before being released. He was brought back to the hospital after he started to vomit, ABC News reports. He died just after midnight on December 25 and the cause is still unknown.
The Department of Homeland Security released the following statement:
DHS has continued to see a dramatic increase in unaccompanied children and family units arriving at our borders illegally or without authorization. Consistent with existing law, these individuals are held at federal facilities pending their removal or release into the interior of the United States with a notice to appear at a court hearing. During their period of detention they received medical screenings and further treatment as needed.
The passing comes as Trump continues to lobby for a border wall. Thousands of government employees are working through the holidays without pay, as Congress continues to debate a spending bill that would allocate $5.7 billion for a border wall. Democrats fiercely oppose the plan. In his remarks to press, Trump showed no signs of yielding on the proposed spending in order to end the partial government shutdown.
“I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it,” Trump told reporters, according to the New York Times. With Trump, Republican, and Democratic officials in deadlock over the budget, agencies affected by the shutdown may not reopen until after the New Year, when Democrats will regain a majority in the House.
Congress will reconvene on Thursday, December 27.