Texas Lawmakers Call For Change After Deaths of Migrant Children

by Adriana Candelaria

A Houston congresswoman retraced the border areas in El Paso where 8-year-old Felipe Alonso Gomez was apprehended and later transported to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Alamogordo before dying in an Alamogordo hospital.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th District) toured the Border Patrol holding facilities and a shelter for migrants alongside Congresswoman-Elect Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso) Saturday afternoon.

“One of the things that we are most worried about here in El Paso right now is that the Border Patrol holding cells are inadequate,” said Escobar.

“Those holding cells were not meant for families. It’s outdated infrastructure. Now, there’s access to, at the El Paso Downtown facility, access to Coast Guard, health care personnel, but prior to this week, there was no health care access,” said Escobar.

The two congresswomen promised to advocate for humane housing facilities in El Paso that will be equipped with essential medical services once congress convenes in 2019.

Jackson Lee is also a senior member on the Committee of Homeland Security. Lee and Escobar told media Saturday afternoon they invited Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to meet with them during her visit to El Paso Friday, but Nielson declined.

“I’m disappointed [in] the Secretary. I’ve known every Homeland Secretary since 9/11. I’ve met with every single one of them. They are the most non-partisan because it’s about securing the homeland,” said Jackson Lee.

“You never turn down meeting with the members of the United States Congress no matter what party they’re in,” said Jackson Lee.

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