CHC asking for independent investigation following death of 7-year-old Guatemalan girl

CHC asking for independent investigation following death of 7-year-old Guatemalan girl

Five members of Congress from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a press conference in downtown El Paso on Monday night to ask for an investigation following the death of a Guatemalan girl who died after being in custody by border agents.

Lawmakers Joaquin Castro, Veronica Escobar, Raul Ruiz, Silvia Garcia, and Ben Ray Lujan said they want an independent investigation to be conducted.

The lawmakers met with immigration groups and will be meeting with CBP in Lordsburg New Mexico on Tuesday. They said other leaders outside the CHC will also go to Lordsburg.

7-year-old Jakelin Caal and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were part of a group of 163 migrants taken into custody Dec. 6 near a border crossing in New Mexico. At Antelope Wells Port of Entry, her father signed a form stating that his daughter was in good health.

Hours after agents took the group into custody, the group was placed on a bus going to the nearest Border Patrol station, Lordsburg Port of Entry, and Jakelin began vomiting and eventually stopped breathing.

Jakelin was examined by the EMTs before agents made the decision to have her airlifted to the nearest trauma center in El Paso.

She died on Dec. 8 at Providence Children’s Hospital.

Her father's native language is the Mayan tongue known as Q'eqchi'. His second language is Spanish. It's unclear whether something was lost in translation or whether it would have made a difference in saving Jakelin after the two were detained and underwent a health screening along a remote stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. But the case raises questions about the Border Patrol's use of English-only forms.

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