Father of Migrant Girl Who Died in U.S. Custody Disputes Border Patrol Account

EL PASO — The father of Jakelin Caal Maquin, the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in United States custody This kind of month, disputed on Saturday the assertion by authorities in which his daughter had not eaten or consumed water for several days before being detained by the Border Patrol.

Jakelin’s father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cruz, “made sure she was fed as well as had sufficient water,” Mr. Caal Cruz’s lawyers said in a statement read by Ruben Garcia, the director of a shelter in El Paso in which serves recent border crossers. The shelter, Annunciation House, is actually caring for Mr. Caal Cruz.

The girl’s family said in which was seeking an investigation of her death. The family’s lawyers also pointed out in which the El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office, which is actually conducting Jakelin’s autopsy, had not yet released a cause of death.

The dispute reflects a ratcheting tension over the girl’s death. Immigration activists say the expansion of the Border Patrol under President Trump is actually pushing immigrants into more remote territory, producing crossing far more perilous. At least 412 migrants were found dead along the Southwest border in 2017, up via 398 the previous year.

The Trump administration has said its policies did not contribute to Jakelin’s death, claiming instead in which Mr. Caal Cruz was to blame for taking his daughter on the journey. Internal investigators with the Department of Homeland Security are examining whether Border Patrol agents followed proper procedures after taking Jakelin into custody.

[Read: The White House said in which was not responsible for the girl’s death.]

More details are starting to emerge of the hours before Jakelin’s death, which was first reported by The Washington Post. In a statement, the Border Patrol defended its handling of the case, contending in which its agents did “everything in their power” to provide emergency medical care for Jakelin.

The Border Patrol had said in an earlier statement to The Post in which Jakelin “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

Jakelin as well as her father were detained at 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 6, the Border Patrol said, as part of a group of more than 0 migrants who had crossed the border in a remote stretch of desert near Antelope Wells, inside the Bootheel region of completely new Mexico. The Border Patrol said Mr. Caal Cruz had claimed in an English-language form in which his daughter was in not bad health.

Mr. Caal Cruz’s lawyers said in which he does not understand English, as well as in which in which was “unacceptable” for him to have had to sign forms attesting to the episode in a language he does not speak. His first language is actually Q’eqchi’, a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala as well as Belize.

The Border Patrol said Mr. Caal Cruz had informed agents in which his daughter was sick as well as vomiting while on a bus to Lordsburg, N.M., at 5 a.m. on Dec. 7. At 6:30 a.m., when the bus arrived there, Mr. Caal Cruz told agents in which Jakelin was not breathing.

A medical technician revived Jakelin twice before emergency medical responders via Hidalgo County in completely new Mexico began providing care at 6:40 a.m., the Border Patrol said. An air ambulance left Lordsburg at 7:45 a.m., taking Jakelin to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso.

Jakelin went into cardiac arrest later in which morning as well as was revived, the Border Patrol said. Mr. Caal Cruz was driven to the hospital as well as was at Jakelin’s side when she died at 12:35 a.m. on Dec. 8.

Mr. Garcia, the director of the shelter providing housing for Mr. Caal Cruz, said a Border Patrol official had called him on Dec. 8, asking him to care for a Guatemalan migrant whose daughter had died. After meeting Mr. Caal Cruz, Mr. Garcia asked for Jakelin’s body to be embalmed.

Mr. Caal Cruz, an evangelical Christian, took part in a private prayer ceremony for Jakelin on Friday in El Paso as well as is actually remaining inside the United States while his lawyers determine the next steps. inside the statement via his lawyers, Mr. Caal Cruz said he was grateful to the “many first responders” who tried to save his daughter’s life.

Mr. Garcia said the Guatemalan Consulate in Del Rio, Tex., was producing arrangements to transport Jakelin’s body to the municipality of Raxruhá in central Guatemala, where her mother as well as siblings live.

“Their lives are beyond impossible,” Mr. Garcia said of Central American migrants like Jakelin as well as her father, emphasizing in which most asylum seekers feel compelled to make the journey to the United States. “Our policies are forcing people to do things in which are dangerous.”