By Vanessa Romo, NPR

In the wake of the death of a second migrant child in U.S. custody within the past two weeks, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced on Wednesday the government is calling on several federal agencies to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection implement a host of new directives intended to improve how it cares for children and adults held in federal facilities.

"In response to the unprecedented surge of children into our custody, I have directed a series of extraordinary protective measures," Nielsen said in a statement.

She explained the changes had been enacted as a result of the "heartbreaking" death of Guatemalan Felipe Gomez Alonso, 8, who died after being diagnosed with a cold and a high fever in New Mexico on Monday night.

Jackelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old girl also from Guatemala, died of dehydration and septic shock on Dec. 8, two days after she was taken into custody with her father.

"It is now clear that migrants, particularly children, are increasingly facing medical challenges and harboring illness caused by their long and dangerous journey," Nielsen said.

Read the full story on the NPR website.

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