8 hours after 7-year-old Guatemalan girl Jakelin Caal and her father were taken into US Border Patrol custody, the young child died from dehydration after having seizures and her body temperature rose to 105.7 degrees. Emergency responders rushed her to a hospital in El Paso but she died within 24 hours. The hospital’s initial report suggests that the young girl died from septic shock, fever, and dehydration, but the official autopsy results are not expected for another few weeks.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security stated that “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.”
Jakelin and her father, Nery Caal, were among 163 people who recently crossed the border and surrendered themselves to border patrol in New Mexico last week. Guatemalan General Consul Tekandi Paniagua said that “the path to the US is increasingly complicated and dangerous and kids are most likely to suffer tragedies such as this because they are more vulnerable. Many times the supplies [families] carry are not enough.”
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan reported to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that families and unaccompanied minors now represent up to 59% of all people arrested at the border. Previously, single adults made up the majority of people trying to cross the US-Mexico border. McAleenan argued that “this is clearly both a border security and humanitarian crisis.”
Last month, a Honduran migrant died in ICE custody as well. Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez was a migrant from Honduras seeking asylum in the United States and died in custody weeks after reaching the border at San Ysidro. She was fleeing violence and discrimination in Honduras. Hernandez Rodriguez previously said that “trans people in my neighborhood are killed and chopped into pieces, then dumped inside potato bags. I didn’t want to come to Mexico – I wanted to stay Honduras but I couldn’t. They kill trans people in Honduras. I’m scared of that.”
Media Resources: Buzzfeed News 12/13/18; Feminist Newswire 11/28/18