U.S. Customer and Border Protection released details Friday in the Dec. 8 death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who passed away at a hospital in El Paso, Texas, after being held in CBP custody for over eight hours. Jakelin Caal Maquin died at 12:38 a.m. at Providence Children’s Hospital with her father at her bedside.
Maquin and her father were arrested in a group of 163 migrants near the Antelope Wells Port of Entry in New Mexico. CBP reported that the girl passed her initial health screening, and that the father filled out a form indicating that she was in good health.
The migrants spent eight hours waiting inside the open-air sally port at Antelope Wells before Maquin and her father boarded a bus headed to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station, but the girl began to vomit on the bus. An hour and 40 minutes later, the bus arrived at Lordsburg and the girl was treated by emergency personnel, who found that she had a 105.7-degree fever. She would be resuscitated twice by emergency personnel before going to the hospital.
CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said that emergency responders did everything possible to save Maquin.
“Border Patrol agents, including trained emergency medical technicians, did everything in their power to provide emergency medical assistance for Jakelin Caal Maquin immediately after her father notified the agents of her distress at a remote Forward Operating Base, 94 miles from the nearest Border Patrol Station,” he said. “Border Patrol agents revived Jakelin twice before emergency responders arrived via air ambulance to continue medical care.”
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called the incident “sad,” and said that it is under investigation.
“This is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey,” Nielsen told Fox News. “This family chose to cross illegally. … We gave immediate care. We’ll continue to look into the situation, but again, I can not stress how dangerous this journey is when migrants choose to come here illegally.”