Jakelin’s father Caal Maquin, 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in the custody of the immigration authorities, disputed that her daughter was malnourished or had not taken water before they crossed the border and surrendered to agents of the Border Patrol of the United States.
Nery Caal issued the statement through attorneys to “clarify the key points” surrounding her daughter’s death on December 8, more than 24 hours after her father said he alerted the agents that his daughter was not well and I was throwing up.
“Jakelin’s father cared for Jakelin, made sure she was fed and had enough water,” said a statement read by Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House, a non-profit organization that provides shelter to immigrants in this city. Caal stays in this shelter after being released by federal agents, although he was not present when the statement was read on Saturday.
Caal, her daughter and more than 160 other immigrants seeking asylum were detained by Border Patrol agents on December 6, after crossing into the United States, near Antelope Wells, New Mexico.
The statement continued: “She and her father sought asylum from the Border Patrol as soon as they crossed the border. He had not suffered from lack of water or food before approaching the border. ”
“He has been very clear, very consistent that his daughter was healthy and that her daughter wanted to come with him,” Garcia added during a press conference.
The White House and the Department of Homeland Security called the death “tragic”, but they assigned responsibility to the father’s decision to cross the border illegally.
“After completing a dangerous day-long trip through a remote and arid land, the girl, who according to the father had not been able to consume water or food for days, began to vomit, suffered a sepsis attack and received treatment US emergency response, “he said on Friday in a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.
Customs and Border Protection officials examined the girl originally and said she was in good health, then left her and her father waiting for about eight hours for a bus to take them to a larger detention center.
The White House, CBP and the Department of Homeland Security say that border agents tried to save her once they were alerted of a health problem and described the initial evaluation forms signed by Caal that supposedly said her daughter was healthy.
Caal’s main language is Q’eqchi ‘, a pre-Columbian Mayan language, and he speaks Spanish as a second language, according to the statement read by García.
Caal, through his lawyers, thanked the rescuers of New Mexico and Texas for trying to save the life of his daughter but asked the public to refrain from speculating until an official autopsy report is issued.
“Premature and inaccurate statements undermine the integrity of the investigation,” the statement said. Caal was able to see Jakelin’s body at a local funeral home on Friday and said goodbye before her body returned to Guatemala, where her family will bury her, Garcia said.