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U.S. border agency chief says agents did everything they could to save Guatemalan children

Click to play video '8-year-old boy is the 2nd Guatemalan child to die in U.S. custody this month' 8-year-old boy is the 2nd Guatemalan child to die in U.S. custody this month
WATCH: 8-year-old boy is the 2nd Guatemalan child to die in U.S. custody this month – Dec 25, 2018

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents did everything they could to get medical help for two children who subsequently died in their custody, the CBP chief Kevin McAleenan said on Sunday.

McAleenan told ABC’s This Week it had been a decade since a child had died in the agency’s custody and the loss of two Guatemalan children in three weeks has been “absolutely devastating.”

READ MORE: More health exams instituted for migrant children at U.S. border in the wake of 2 deaths

Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, was the second Guatemalan child to die this month while being held by U.S. authorities, sparking outrage from immigration advocates.

READ MORE: Family of Guatemalan boy struggling to understand how he died

The boy’s death followed the death in early December of seven-year-old Jakelin Caal, also from Guatemala. She died after being detained along with her father by U.S. border agents in a remote part of New Mexico.

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WATCH: Funeral for 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. custody too much for grieving mother

Click to play video 'Funeral for 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. custody too much for grieving mother' Funeral for 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. custody too much for grieving mother
Funeral for 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. custody too much for grieving mother – Dec 26, 2018

“Our agents did everything they could, as soon as these children manifested symptoms of illness, to save their lives,” McAleenan said.

After the second death, the CBP said it will conduct secondary medical checks on all children in its custody, with a focus on those under 10.

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