Media Contact

Micah McCoy, ACLU of New Mexico Communications Director

(972) 740-6675 or 

December 26, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today the ACLU of New Mexico responded to the tragic death of another immigrant child while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. According to reports, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonso of Guatemala died just before midnight on Monday, at a hospital in Alamogordo, N.M. He is the second child this month to die in CBP custody after being detained by the agency.

The following can be attributed to Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Mexico:

"With this second senseless tragedy, the evidence is quickly mounting that we need an immediate, transparent and independent investigation not only into the recent deaths, but also into CBP's protocols for guaranteeing the safety of immigrant children in their custody. We have long been aware that CBP's short-term custody facilities are inadequate to the task of caring for children. The most pressing needs of our southwest border are not more militarized enforcement but child welfare resources and alternatives to detention for children.”

The following can be attributed to Cynthia Pompa, Advocacy Manager of the ACLU Border Rights Center:

“These detention facilities are no place for children. CBP has a long history of human rights abuses, and the death of yet another child held in its custody demands immediate and sweeping reforms. While CBP is now proposing some changes to medical care, CBP officials were reportedly unable to answer basic questions about these new procedures. The fact remains that there is no way to humanely detain children; the agency should seek proven alternatives to detention models to minimize the time any child remains in their custody. This death demands a fully independent investigation into these deaths and CBP detention practices, with an eye towards robust reforms to ensure permanent oversight, transparency, and accountability.”