Update (December 16, 2018): Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died while in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, did not receive medical care for 90 minutes, according to NBC News.
The girl and her father, 29-year-old Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were apprehended by border officials Friday after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border along with approximately 160 other migrants. During a transfer from the Antelope Wells site where they were held, the young girl began to vomit. NBC News reports about an hour and a half later she wasn't breathing. EMTs revived the child twice before she was ultimately transported to a medical center in El Paso, Texas, for further treatment. She died of cardiac arrest once admitted, reports state.
Since the girl's death, lawyers representing her family have refuted claims made by the U.S. Border officials stating she did not receive food and water. The Associated Press reports family members said she received food and was not walking in the desert for days before entering the United States. Caal Cuz was forced to sign documents not in his native language, Mayan Q'eqchi'. He came to the U.S. seeking asylum and hoping to earn money to send back to his small village, San Antonio Secortez.
Original: An immigrant Guatemalan girl died while at the U.S.-Mexico border near Lordsburg, New Mexico.
“Every year the Border Patrol saves hundreds of people who are overcome by the elements between our ports of entry. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring,” a spokesperson said in a statement to the New York Daily News.
The ACLU Border Rights Center shared its thoughts on Twitter, calling the conditions the child faced "inhumane" and demanding a rigorous investigation regarding her death:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reportedly arrested over 107,000 immigrant families last year, many who turn themselves into border agents hoping to later apply for asylum. They are then taken to border stations, but, according to NBC News, facilities are often backed up with unaccompanied children.
This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when children are held in inhumane conditions.— ACLU Border Rights Center (@ACLU_BRC) December 14, 2018
We call for a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths. https://t.co/lTuwwmC3RI
This recent death will most likely increase scrutiny of detention conditions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and Border Patrol stations.
An autopsy has been planned for the young girl. The father is currently still in El Paso and has been in contact with the Guatemalan consulate.
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