The family of the young boy who died in a New Mexico hospital days after they illegally crossed the border says they brought him based on rumors of easy entry with a child in tow. His son died after being treated twice at a hospital for flu-like symptoms.
The step-sister of eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo told the Associated Press the boy’s father heard rumors that he could get into the U.S. if he brought children, ABC News reported. She did not specify who spread the rumors that appear to have led to the father’s fateful decision to make the trip from Guatemala to the U.S. with his little son.
“We heard rumors that they could pass (into the United States). They said they could pass with the children,” Catarina Gomez Lucas, Felipe’s 21-year-old stepsister, told the AP about why the boy and his father, Agustin Gomez, made the long and hazard-filled journey to the U.S.
She said the father grabbed some changes of clothing, bought Felipe some new shoes, and took what money he had as he embarked on the journey that would lead to his little boy’s death.
Felipe’s illness appeared to come on quickly. His mother, 31-year-old Catarina Alonzo Perez said she spoke with him the day before he arrived at the border. “He wasn’t sick on the way. He wasn’t sick here,” she told the reporter through her stepdaughter.
The father said the boy appeared fine earlier in the day and was playing with other children, the family told the press. Later in the day, he “said he felt bad and his stomach ached, Gomez Lucas explained. The father told his family that Felipe said it felt like something was stuck in his throat.
An initial trip on Christmas Eve to the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, led to a diagnosis of a “common cold,” CBP officials reported in a timeline reported by Breitbart News. Officials said the boy exhibited flu-like symptoms. Doctors released him with a prescription for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen after they evaluated his 103-degree fever
About five hours later, Felipe began vomiting and said he felt nauseous. Officials gave him the prescribed medicine and carried out several “welfare checks” as they monitored his condition. at about 10 p.m. the boy became nauseous again and vomited. As no EMT was on duty at the detention center, the agents took the boy and his father back to the hospital. He lost consciousness during the trip to the hospital and doctors could not revive him. He died shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the system has been “pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders,” Breitbart News reported. “Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north.”
“The unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children at the border must not be ignored,” Nielsen stated. “I once again ask – beg – parents to not place their children at risk by taking a dangerous journey north. Vulnerable populations – including family units and unaccompanied alien children should seek asylum at the first possible opportunity, including Mexico.”
“To those in Congress who continue to refuse to take action to address the loopholes that cause a flood of humanity to travel north and place children at risk, I once again call on you to do your job, protect vulnerable populations, secure our borders, and provide the men and women of DHS the authorities and resources we need to address this crisis,” the DHS secretary concluded.