It was daybreak on Christmas Eve when Claudia Maquin got reunited with her daughter, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, who died while in Border Patrol custody on December 8.
The body of the Guatemalan girl got transported to her homeland in her native village of Raxruha where she can be laid to rest.
Being destitute asylum seekers, her family didn’t have the money to meet the Foreign Ministry reps on Sunday when they arrived at Guatemala City’s International airport, so local officials decided to help and transported Jakelin’s body with a hearse to Raxruha.
Just two days after being detained, Jakelin Caal died while in Border Patrol custody, days after her 7th birthday.
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Jakelin’s initial cause of death point towards sepsis shock but no official cause have been determined.
She came down with a fever while being detained at the Centre located about 90 miles from the New Mexican desert where she and her father got picked up by US officials.
American authorities blamed Jakelin’s father, insisting that she has not had water or food for days before arriving at the border. They also claim that her father finds a form stating that Jakelin was healthy when she arrived.
Jakelin’s father insisted that his daughter had been eating and drinking and that they hadn't undertaken a long desert crossing like the press had been saying. The form he filled out was in English, a language he does not speak.
A spokesman for the White House commented:
“Does the administration take responsibility for a parent taking a child on a trek through Mexico to get to this country? No.”
The administration is attempting to shift the blame to desperate parents when they have been repeatedly caught destroying stashes of water left in the desert by humanitarian groups.
An investigation by ‘No More Deaths’ concluded that this was not the actions of a few rogue Border Patrol agents but more a systemic feature of enforcement practices in the Borderlands.
An ex-border Patrol agent Wrote about an incident where they came across a family lost in the desert he gave the 4-year-old boy water, but when a fellow officer arrived, he Kicked the jug out of the child's hands and said, “There’s no amnesty here.”
While the United States administration is washing their hands off the plight of the indigenous Guatemalan people, they are the direct cause of their conditions over the last 50 years. The US overthrew Guatemala reformist government during a coup in 1954 which lead to decades of United States authoritarian rule.
At the border holding cells, or “iceboxes” as they are also called, Children and adults are forced to sleep on hard concrete floors while having to sit in their own filth, drink contaminated water and endure both psychological and physical abuse. The facility where Jakelin was held had previously been cited for contaminated water.
United States practices and policies regarding immigration law had caused many in fear for their lives searching for asylum more pain and misery then they ever could have imagined.
A new policy regarding immigrants seeking asylum got passed as they will no longer be permitted to wait for their asylum to be granted on U.S. soil.
Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen said:
"They will not be able to disappear into the United States. They will have to wait for approval. If they are granted asylum by a U.S. judge, they will be welcomed into America."
As reported on December 20, the new policy will apply to all immigrants, however, exclude children traveling alone and Mexican citizens applying for asylum.
Authorized by the Guatemalan consulate, an organizer from Texas, Priscilla Villareal, set up a GoFundMe page to help Jakelin's family with funds to cover their basic needs, including medical care for Jakelin's three siblings, and the construction of a bathroom and kitchen in their home.