Torres Small says more is still needed as CBP makes changes

El Paso News

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced policy changes in the wake of a second child’s death in U.S. custody.

Among those changes, all children in u-s border patrol custody will now be given a second thorough medical screening.

Congresswoman elect for Southern New Mexico, Xochitl Torres Small, said changes need to be on a greater level and pointed out the facilities are not adequate for children.

“It has been this shift to families and we don’t have the facilities or capacity to address that change. Having medical examinations of all the children in CBP is a great first step but it’s not enough,” said Torres Small.

She said some of the medical equipment used to give the children the examination is for adults, which means checking blood pressure on small arms can be a challenge.

Torres Small said making sure everyone is clean can also be difficult as some showers are outside and the immigrants are consistently moving from one place to another because of crowded facilities.

She said more resources are needed to adapt to the increase of families crossing the border.
Torres small said the government shutdown is just making things worse.

“What we need is to muster all of our resources to find every potential way to address this issue and keep children from dying on our borders. The government shutdown has done the opposite. It’s caused border patrol agents to be working without pay. Not knowing when they’ll be paid. In some cases, it’s caused furloughs of border patrol agents.”

Tuesday during his Christmas message, President Trump talked about the government remaining closed until he gets money for the border wall.

“Many of those workers have said to me and communicated, stay out until you get the funding for the wall. These federal workers want the wall. The only one that doesn’t want the wall are the democrats, because they don’t mind open borders,” said Trump.

CBP said it is reviewing its policies with a particular focus on the custody of children. It is also looking to review custody options to relieve capacity at border patrol stations and options for medical assistance from other federal organizations.

This after eight-year-old Felipe Alonso Gomez died in CBP custody Christmas Eve.

The Guatemalan consulate spoke with the boy’s father.

“We’ve already offered our condolences to him and his wife and we’re seeking an investigation into the case,” said Oscar Padilla Lam.

The boy was the second child to die in CBP custody this month. Earlier this month, seven-year-old girl Jakelin Caal’s death led to calls for an investigation.

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