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DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visits border after migrant child’s death

DHS facing backlash over death of migrant boy

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is visiting the Texas border city of El Paso Friday where an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy was detained with his father before dying in government custody.

Nielsen will tour multiple stations and substations operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said. She is also scheduled to meet with emergency medical technicians and medical professionals, as well as local officials. 

Nielsen will go to Yuma, Arizona, on Saturday.

The trip comes four days after the death of 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, who was the second Guatemala child to die in U.S. custody in a month. 

In a press release Tuesday afternoon, the agency said he showed "signs of potential illness" on Christmas Eve and was transferred, along with his father, to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The boy was initially diagnosed with a common cold and fever and was released after being prescribed antibiotics, authorities said. 

Nielsen has called the boy's death "deeply concerning and heartbreaking" and requested medical help from other government agencies. This week, she announced across-the-board health screenings for all of the children in Border Patrol custody.