As President Donald Trump continues to put in his bid for the border wall, which includes threatening to shut down the government if he isn’t given millions to build it, another immigration crisis rests on his shoulders. The death of several undocumented immigrants have been reported recently, all of which have occurred either during immigration detention or that were recently released. Take, for example, an autopsy report that showed Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a 33-year-old undocumented transgender woman, was physically abused while in ICE custody less than 24 hours before dying at the hospital. Then there’s the tragic case of an undocumented baby who died soon after being released from immigration detention. The baby’s mother is now suing the government for $60 million.
The latest is the heart-wrenching story of a 7-year-old.
On Dec. 6, Jakelin Caal Maquin, a child traveling with her father attempting to get asylum, died just hours after being detained by border patrol in New Mexico.
NBC News confirms this is Jakelin Ameí Rosmery Caal Maquin, the 7 year old girl who died in Border Patrol custody. pic.twitter.com/76BmoQhDEm
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) December 14, 2018
The original report from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claimed that Jakelin had died from dehydration and shock, and also alleged that she hadn’t had any food or water. Jakelin’s father, however, Nery Gilberto Caal Cruz, is saying that allegation is simply not true.
In a statement released by Ruben Garcia, the director of the shelter Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, where Nery is currently being housed, said that Jakelin had been taken care of by her father and had been eating and drinking water. He also said that Jakelin had not been traveling for days as the CBP claims.
The Department of Homeland Security also alleges that they have a video of Nery denying that anything was wrong with him or his daughter. “The initial screening revealed no evidence of health issues,” the DHS statement said, according to NBC News. Nery fought back against those claims because, as he says, he and his family are indigenous and do not speak English but rather Q’eqchi’. Nery and his daughter traveled from their hometown of Raxruhá in the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala.
CNN is reporting that Providence Hospital, where Jakelin passed away, died as a result of sepsis shock, which occurs when “extreme reaction to an infection in the body” causes life-threatening complications.” “Sepsis occurs when the immune system turns on itself and causes widespread inflammation,” EverydayHealth.com states.
Jakelin began showing symptoms of being sick as soon as they boarded a bus meant to take them to the Border Patrol station in Lordsburg.
Her name is Jakelin Caal Maquin, not some anonymous 7 year old girl. Her father's name is Nery Gilbert Caal Cruz. They'd traveled here to try to save themselves and the rest of their family, still in Guatemala, (three younger siblings) and their mother.https://t.co/aTWzqeNKn8
— Juliana James (@cjuliana_james) December 17, 2018
Nery informed agents and they, in turn, told officials in Lordsburg that the girl would need medical attention once they arrived. Once they did, Jakelin’s conditioned worsened, and she stopped breathing. Border Patrol EMT attempted to revive her twice. She was then airlifted to a hospital in El Paso where she ultimately succumbed to her symptoms.
The family is still awaiting the El Paso County medical examiner to determine the cause of death. Nery also stated that he is “grateful for the many first responders that tried to save young Jakelin’s life in New Mexico and Texas.”
The family is requesting a thorough investigation into the death of Jakelin as is the Hispanic Caucus.
On Tuesday, the @HispanicCaucus will lead a delegation to #Lordsburg Station in #Lordsburg, #NewMexico to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of #JakelinAmeiRosmeryCaalMaquin. Any Members of Congress interested in attending, please contact @HispanicCaucus.
— Hispanic Caucus (@HispanicCaucus) December 14, 2018
Rep. Joaquin Castro and a group of Latino Democratic lawmakers announced that they are leading a delegation to Lordsburg Station in New Mexico to “investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Jakelin.”
One of the reasons why the public didn’t find out about the death Jakelin until days later is because Kevin McAleenan, the head of CBP, didn’t bring it up to the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to ABC News, McAleenan didn’t mention her death in his testimony because he didn’t want to “risk politicizing the death of a child.”
Click here for more information on how you can demand a congressional investigation into the death of Jakelin.