Lawmakers Demand Answers In Death Of Immigrant Girl, 7, In Border Patrol Custody

Democratic lawmakers are demanding answers in the death of Outrage is a 7-year-old indigenous Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Caal Maquín, while she was  in Border Patrol custody on Dec. 8.

Maquín was held in detention for more than eight hours when she began to have seizures. Border Patrol agents took the girl to the hospital after her body temperature spiked to 105.7 degrees, notes Democracy Now.

Clara Long, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, discussed Jakelin’s death:

First of all, I mean, I think that an independent—an impartial outside investigation is urgently needed. What we have now are facts as they’ve been reported. And as you say, she got on a bus.
You know, we understand that at that point she began to vomit and to spike a very high fever, and that the bus sort of continued on its way between the Antelope Wells Border Patrol station to another location in New Mexico that was a bit closer to medical care, but even there, when she arrived, receiving—you know, received emergency medical care and then was ultimately transferred via helicopter to a children’s hospital. You know, she, essentially, did not recover from this really serious health crisis.
You know, in this case, I don’t think we yet know what’s happened. And, in fact, the family has asked the media to stop speculating about the cause of death until an official autopsy report comes in. What’s been shocking to me is that the first statements from the government said that this little girl hadn’t eaten for several days.
The family said that’s not at all true, that she had had access to food during the journey. You know, I think there are a lot of facts still to find out here. But what we can sort of already keep in mind is the context. And I think—you know, there was a great op-ed in the L.A. Times yesterday by a former Border Patrol agent who said essentially that.
You know, “We don’t know what happened in this case, but”—that this Border Patrol agent said, and we found in our research. “But what we do know is this agency has a culture of indifference and of neglect and of abuse of migrants.”

(Sources: Democracy Now, Human Rights Watch)

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