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CBP orders medical exams for all migrant children in federal custody


The change in procedures follows the death of a second young migrant

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Medical exams have been ordered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for all migrant children held in its custody, USA Today reported.

The change in health procedures comes on the heels of the Christmas Eve death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy, the second child to die in federal custody this month. A 7-year-old girl died while in custody earlier this month.

What's the story?

CBP officials told reporters on Wednesday in a background phone briefing that it is considering options from other government agencies to help with the increased need for medical services for young immigrants who've been detained.

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security and CBP said there's been a recent increase in the number of families and unaccompanied children detained at facilities along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Assistance may be provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the report.

CBP has also asked U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the causes for the recent increase in illness among the migrants at the border.

Dozens are being transported daily to hospitals for medical care in recent weeks and months, CBP officials said.

"We're doing dozens of hospital trips every single day with children that have fevers or manifest other medical conditions," CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told CBS News.

Following the recent Guatemalan boy's death, CBP began performing secondary medical checks beyond the initial health screening of children in custody. More than 95 percent of those children had been re-examined by Wednesday.

What else?

It's unclear how many immigrant children remain in federal custody at this time.

The deaths have prompted severe scrutiny of the conditions and procedures of DHS, which said it is overburdened by the thousands of immigrants who cross the border illegally each day, according to the Daily Caller.

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