The Trump Administration and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the death of a 7-year-old migrant girl in Border Patrol custody was due to family negligence.

Secretary Nielsen appeared on the Fox News show “Fox and Friends” on Friday and said the situation was ‘heart wrenching’, but “This family chose to cross illegally,”

“What happened here was they were about 90 miles away from where we could process them,” she continued. “They were in such a large crowd that it took our Border Patrol folks a couple of times to get them all.”

White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley takes the same stance on the matter saying it was a “horrific, tragic situation”, but they bare no responsibility in her death because there’s inherent risk in attempting to cross into American soil illegally.

“Does the administration take responsibility for a parent taking a child on a trek through Mexico to get to this country? No.” Gidley stated.

The girl, identified as Jakelin Caal Maquin, a Venezuelan who was traveling with her father to seek asylum on a bus with other migrants from the country and was apprehended by Border Patrol agents around 9 PM local time on December 6th.

Eight hours after the girl and her father were taken into custody, she began having seizures and her body temperature was measured at 105.7 degrees by emergency medical technicians.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, Maquin started suffering from seizures and dehydration which prompted her father to notify agents of her well-being and seek medical care. In a statement, McAllenan says the nearest Forward Operating Base was 94 miles away from the nearest Border Patrol station.

“Border Patrol Agents revived Jakelin twice before emergency responders arrived via air ambulance to continue medical care. Emergency Medical professionals transported her by helicopter to the nearest children’s hospital.” McAllenan said.

The statement also said Maquin was in good health at the time she was evaluated and showed no signs of distress. According to the report, she and the other migrants had access to food, water, and restrooms, but doesn’t state whether Maquin was given food or drink before her death.


Brandon Howard is a Grit Post contributor, auto worker, and former public radio reporter based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @mrpowerhoward.

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