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DHS watchdog finds no wrongdoing in deaths of 2 migrant kids

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2018, file photo, Domingo Caal Chub, 61, holds a smartphone displaying a photo of his granddaughter, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, in Raxruha, Guatemala. The 7-year-old girl died in a Texas hospital, two days after being taken into custody by border patrol agents in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert. Homeland Security's watchdog found no wrongdoing or misconduct by immigration officials in the deaths of the girl and another boy last December (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros, File)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog found no wrongdoing or misconduct by immigration officials in the deaths of two migrant children last December.

The Inspector General for Homeland Security released statements Friday evening on the deaths of Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, who died Dec. 8, and Felipe Gómez Alonzo, who died Dec. 24. Both children had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border as crossings surged. Both died from bacterial infections.

At the time, lawmakers and immigrant advocates decried how the children had been treated in the hours before their deaths and called for an investigation.

The deaths pushed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to increase medical checks. But increasingly more family members would cross the border, overwhelming border facilities in the months after their deaths.

Border crossings are now down, in part because of Trump administration policies that sent tens of thousands of migrants over the border to wait out their cases in Mexico, and banned asylum for anyone who crossed through another country en route to the U.S.

Colleen Long, The Associated Press