Guatemalan Girl Dies In Federal Custody

Local News

As our country struggles with the tough issue of immigration, tonight, U.S. Customs and Border Protection are releasing new details on the 7-year-old migrant girl from Guatemala who died while in Federal custody. 

As NBC’s Jacob Soboroff reports, her case raises more questions about U.S. border policy. 

Jakelin Caal and her father were among 163 migrants who crossed the border illegally, and were apprehended by the border patrol in New Mexico last Thursday.

According to CBP, they were put on a bus to be transported to a border patrol station 95 miles away, but not long after, the father notified agents his daughter was vomiting. 

Jakelin didn’t receive medical attention until she arrived at the station 90 minutes later, but, by then, she had stopped breathing. 

She was airlifted to a hospital in El Paso where she died the next morning.

Homeland Security says their inspector general is investigating the incident. 

But when CBP’s commissioner testified before Congress on Tuesday, he made no mention of Jakelin’s death, but said their system is flawed. 

“Our infrastructure is incompatible with this reality. Our Border Patrol stations and ports of entry were built to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families or children.” Said Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Critics say the administration’s crackdown will only lead to more death. 

“One of the border patrol chiefs told me that the drug smugglers are the ones who create the humanitarian crises. It’s not their enforcement policy.” said Jacob Soboroff 

“if it wasn’t for our border enforcement policies, the cartels would not even be involved in the human smuggling business maybe to begin with.” Said Maryada Vallet, a No More Deaths Volunteer. 

For Jakelin Caal a dangerous journey and deadly consequences and tonight questions unanswered. 

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The mission of is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.

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