Devastated Guatemalan mom couldn't bear to attend daughter's Christmas funeral
A seven-year-old was laid to rest on Christmas day. Her mother could not handle being at the funeral.
Jakelin Caal Maquin, of Guatemala, traveled about 2,000 miles before reaching Texas. Soon after, she passed away from brain swelling, liver failure, and cardiac arrest.
The young girl was said to have died after a 105.7 degree Fahrenheit fever overcame her at the border. Her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, was traveling with her and 163 other immigrants at the time she passed, according to Reuters.
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On December 6, he signed a form, written in English, listing his daughter in good health. Not long after, Customs and Border Protection explained that emergency medical technicians were called in to revive the young girl.
They proceeded to transport her to an El Paso hospital on December 8. By the next day, Maquin succumbed to her illness. The parent's other child, a son, is still awaiting his immigrant status. His court date is set for January 3.
The body of 7-year-old Guatemalan girl Jakelin Caal, who died while in U.S. custody, was brought home to white balloons and handwritten messages. https://t.co/JlZqmXCIx6— Axios (@axios) December 25, 2018
At the Guatemalan funeral on Tuesday, the girl's friends and family were in attendance, but her parents were absent during the burial. The impoverished village which held the event remembered Maquin with a beautiful white casket at a wooden altar.
The funeral was done at her the girl's grandparents' home in San Antonio Seortez. It included letters saying "We miss you," flowers, and photographs of the poor girl who had lost her life.
The death of a 7-year-old migrant, Jakelin Caal Maquin, in U.S. custody has become a flashpoint in the debate over immigration in the U.S. It also speaks to the poverty and exclusion of indigenous communities in Guatemala. https://t.co/WUUFyqvMz3— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) December 19, 2018
Also present were women who took the time to make snacks for those in attendance. Tamales and beans were distributed to mourners.
Prior to that, a charity collection saw money and grain being given to the family. It came after the family was unable to meet Maquin's body at the capital.
Jackelin Caal Maquín, la niña de 7 años que murió en Texas el cuerpo de ya se encuentra en su comunidad San Antonio Secortez, Raxruhá, Alta Verapaz, decenas personas acompañan ya su velatorio entre familiares y vecinos que le acompañan. pic.twitter.com/sLaO8REZgG— Walter Maaz (@MaazWalter) December 24, 2018
Mother, Claudia, was at the funeral at a point. Her tormented cries of loss were all the 150 others in attendance heard during the occasion.
For the transportation to the cemetery, Maquin's uncle Jose Manuel explained that "they couldn't bear the sadness. Just he, another uncle, and a grandmother attended among the non-relatives.
Scene outside of House Judiciary Committee this morning where Nielsen will testify. Activists outside the hearing stand with photos of Roxsana Hernandez, Claudia Gonzalez and Mariee Juarez, Jackelin Caal Maquin. pic.twitter.com/6Edex4ND8k— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) December 20, 2018
The child's grandfather, Domingo Caal, said:
“This is not a merry Christmas, it’s a bad Christmas. To lose a child, a human being, is difficult."
The whole situation has caused many to take a step back and examine the President's immigration policies. Many of the Guatemalan immigrants were looking for asylum from gang violence and poverty.
In this case, a father and daughter fled with the hope of a better life. Sadly, only one returned with the heartwrenching loss of family.