Jackeline Caal, a 7-year-old Maya Q’eqchi’ girl from Guatemala, died on December 8 while in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Jackeline became sick after crossing into the U.S. border in southern New Mexico, according to the Department of Homeland Security. She died in a hospital in neighboring Texas in an incident for which the Trump administration has rejected responsibility
"Jackeline’s death demonstrates the real and tragic consequences of the violation of indigenous peoples’ human rights," the Indian Law Resource Center said in a statement. "We reject the White House’s denial of culpability and call upon the U.S. government to rigorously and thoroughly investigate how this tragedy occurred while this young indigenous girl was supposedly under the care of the U.S. government."
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala said Jackeline and her family traveled from the Alta Verapaz region of the Central American nation. Their first language is Q'eqchi', one of the Mayan languages that are spoken throughout the region.
"It should be highlighted that communication with the father and the girl's family was carried out in their mother language, which is Q'eqchi'," the Spanish-language statement read.
The Office of Inspector General at Homeland Security has opened an investigation into Jackeline's death. Democrats are also seeking answers.
"The United States must treat migrants -- many of whom are fleeing terror and violence in their home nations -- with humanity and dignity," a group of Democratic lawmakers from New Mexico and Texas wrote in a letter to the Trump administration.
“We remain deeply concerned about the administration’s anti-immigrant enforcement policies against individuals who pose no threat to the nation, as well as the administration’s policies and practices that may be causing asylum seekers to attempt a dangerous journey crossing between the ports of entry," the letter stated.
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The 7-year-old girl who died in Border Patrol custody was healthy before she arrived, father says
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Migrant Girl’s ‘Horrific, Tragic’ Death Is Not Its Responsibility, White House Says
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Trump administration not to blame for ‘tragic’ death of 7-year-old girl in Border Patrol custody, White House says
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