Friends and family carry a coffin with the remains of Jakelin Caal, 7, who died while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, during her funeral at her home village of San Antonio Secortez, in Guatemala, Dec. 25, 2018.
Friends and family carry a coffin with the remains of Jakelin Caal, 7, who died while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, during her funeral at her home village of San Antonio Secortez, in Guatemala, Dec. 25, 2018.

Editor's note: We want you to know what's happening, why and how it could impact your life, family or business, so we created a weekly digest of the top original immigration, migration and refugee reporting from across VOA. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: ImmigrationUnit@voanews.com.

Separated by the wall

A U.S. partial government shutdown started at the beginning of the week and showed no signs of ending by week’s end. At issue is President Trump’s insistence on $5 billion in funding for construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Democrats believe a wall would be ineffective and a waste of money. They refuse to provide any funding for the wall. 

By Thursday Congress had adjourned for the rest of the year. Friday, the president struck back by threatening to close the border entirely.

A case of the flu

A second migrant child has died in U.S. custody, prompting calls for investigations in both houses of Congress. Eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo became nauseous and started vomiting Monday night. He later died in a hospital on Christmas. A subsequent autopsy revealed he had had the flu.

Catarina Gomez provided this photo of her half-bro
Catarina Gomez provided this photo of her half-brother Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, near her home in Yalambojoch, Guatemala, Dec. 12, 2018. The 8-year-old boy died in U.S. custody at a New Mexico hospital on Christmas Eve after suffering a cough, vomiting and

A second child who died in U.S. custody, Jakelin Caal, was buried - also on Christmas. As a result of the two deaths, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has ordered medical screenings for all children in its custody.

Migrants, safe and… not

A migrant ship has docked in Spain after being refused in other countries. Three hundred and ten African migrants walked off the ship draped in red blankets provided by the Red Cross.

A migrant child is helped from the Spanish NGO Pro
A migrant child is helped from the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue vessel, after being rescued Dec. 21, in the Central Mediterranean Sea, to disembark in the port of Crinavis in Algeciras, Spain, Dec. 28, 2018.

They are the lucky ones. The International Organization for Migration has found records that 6,600 Africans have died over the past five years, most of them crossing the Sahara Desert toward Europe. The study notes these numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg.”