The Federal Government of the United States has detained thousands
of illegal immigrants, including both adults and their minor children, on the border between the United States and Mexico. A 7-year-old girl was exposed to have died in US custody on the 14th.
Several members of Congress criticized the failure of law enforcement officers to report to the Senate and House of Representatives within 24 hours, so that Congress was unaware of the tragedy and “learned from the news” six days later.
The girl died in Guatemala, a Central American country, named Jacqueline Carr, aged 7. Her father is Neri Carr, 29.
Carl’s father and daughter arrived at the Port of Antillopwells, New Mexico, on December 6, and were detained by law enforcement officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency at about 21.15 p.m. U.S. officials say more than 160 immigrants were present at the border crossing.
At about 4:30 a.m. on December 7, law enforcement officers took Carl’s father and daughter to a bus for transfer to another place of detention in New Mexico. The bus started at 5:00; shortly before departure, Neri told law enforcement officers that Jacqueline was vomiting. At 6:30, when the bus arrived at its destination, Jacqueline stopped breathing.
Emergency workers arrived and took Jacqueline to a hospital in El Paso, Texas. After some treatment, Jacqueline died in hospital on the morning of December 8.
U.S. officials disclosed that Neri witnessed her daughter’s death in a hospital and was subsequently sent to an immigration settlement in El Paso.
American media initially reported that the 7-year-old girl died of dehydration and exhaustion. Medical examinations showed brain swelling, liver failure and cardiac arrest in girls, US officials said Wednesday.
The Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office began investigating the incident, promising to inform the federal government, Congress and the public about the progress of the investigation.
According to Congressional regulations, the Customs and Border Protection Agency should report to the appropriation committees of the House and Senate within 24 hours of the girl’s death.
However, Jay Tilton, spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee, confirmed to the media that no report had been received. An assistant to the House of Representatives who did not want to be identified told Reuters that the House Appropriation Committee had also not received a report and was asking the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection to “explain”.
Several senior Democratic congressmen wrote a joint letter urging the Office of the Inspector General of Homeland Security to thoroughly investigate the concealment. The letter said, “It was only a week after the incident that we learned about it from the news report. We can’t express our indignation too much.”
In an interview with the media, Homeland Security Minister Costjane Nielsen said the death of the girl was “heartbreaking”, but refused to acknowledge the responsibility of law enforcement officials in the United States, emphasizing that “such a journey is dangerous, and now it is a sad case”.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin talked about the girl’s death on social media Twitter on the 14th, calling on Nielsen to take the blame and resign.
The girl’s father, Neri, filled out a form containing answers to about 20 questions when he was detained, according to officials of the Department of Homeland Security who did not want to be named. One of the items in the table is whether the child has a disease or not. He outlines the option “No”.
American law enforcement officials asked questions in Spanish and the form was written in English. In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala said Neri’s mother tongue is Kerki, a Mayan language.
Guatemalan consular official Tecandi Panagua
visited Neri twice on the 8th and 10th, then told the media:
“They can speak Spanish, but they can’t understand 100 percent.”
(End) (Special Release of Xinhua News Agency)