December 28, 2018

Udall, Heinrich, Harris, Gillibrand, Luján Demand Investigation into Death of Felipe Alonzo-Gomez

8-year-old is second young child to die in CBP custody this month

Lawmakers seek answers to alarming questions about the timeline and actions surrounding Felipe’s death

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.)Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) wrote to leadership of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) demanding an immediate investigation into yet another tragic death of a child in U.S. custody, eight-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, near the U.S.-Mexico border – this time in Alamogordo, N.M. Felipe is the second child to die in CBP custody in December, following the tragic death of seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin earlier this month.

Full text of the letter is available HERE. 

“[Felipe’s] death is unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote. “We seek immediate answers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP about how they will ensure the health and safety of children at our borders, adequately train CBP agents and officers and allocate resources, and prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. We remain deeply concerned about the Administration’s anti-immigrant policies for enforcement operations against individuals who pose no threat to our nation, as well as the policies and practices that may be causing asylum seekers to attempt a dangerous journey of crossing between ports of entry.”

In their letter, the lawmakers said that there are alarming questions about the timeline surrounding Felipe’s death, about the conditions under which the child was held prior to his death, and about DHS’s apparent lack of adherence to its own standards regarding the care of those in its custody, particularly children, due to the administration’s immigration policies. 

Udall, Heinrich, Harris, Gillibrand, and Luján requested complete responses to a series of specific oversight questions and requests by January 15, 2019.

Full text of the letter is available HERE.