God Damn (Trump's) America
A seven-year-old Guatemalan girl died of dehydration and shock after she and other migrants turned themselves in to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in the New Mexico desert last week, and that's America now, Merry Christmas (NOT "happy holidays," because this is a Christian nation, goddammit). The girl began having seizures about eight hours after she and her father were taken into custody by CBP near Lordsburg, New Mexico. Emergency responders got her on a helicopter to a hospital in El Paso, but she died the next day.
As of this morning, the details are still pretty sparse, and rely on statements/records from CBP, which of course means we're bracing for the reality to be even worse. The basics are bad enough, as the Washington Post reports.
According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in.
More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days."
After a helicopter flight to Providence Children's Hospital in El Paso, the child went into cardiac arrest and "was revived," according to the agency. "However, the child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported," CBP said.
The girl's and her father's names haven't been released. For now at least, the father "remains in El Paso awaiting a meeting with Guatemalan consular officials, according to CBP." Get ready for immigration hawks demanding to know why he's not shackled in a detention cell.
Among the big unanswered questions: WaPo notes that when they're detained, migrants usually get food and water, but so far, no word on whether the little girl received any food or water, or a medical examination, before she started having seizures. We'd assume her father tried to ask for help, but we won't be the least bit surprised if the officers ignored him -- or maybe made fun of him, considering previous treatment of migrants, like the CBP guy back in June mocking crying preschoolers taken from their parents and pretending they needed a choir director. Or the CBP cages where agents left it up to other detained children to change the diaper of a two-year-old.
Mind you, we're only speculating. If it's any comfort (it isn't), CBP says it's definitely investigating to make sure "appropriate policies" were followed. And of course, the "standard procedure" is awful enough, as the Texas-based migrant rights group RAICES reminds us:
In the case of this girl, at least, it looks like CBP won't be allowed to simply investigate itself and declare it did everything it could. Congressman Joaquín Castro is already calling for investigations by DHS's inspector general and Congress, and so is Beto O'Rourke.
Oh, yes, and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen rolled out the the official condolences: it's very sad, but that's what happens to people when they cross the border illegally, you know? Appearing on "Fox & Friends" this morning, Nielsen said it's sad for everyone, both the family and the DHS personnel, who we guess feel some sense of loss too:
"It's heart-wrenching, is what it is. And my heart goes out to the family, for all of DHS. This is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey. This family chose to cross illegally. What happened here is that they were 90 miles away from where we could process them. They came in such a large crowd that it took our border patrol folks a couple times to get them all.
"We gave immediate care. We'll continue to look into the situation. But again, I cannot stress how dangerous this journey is when migrants choose to come here illegally."
OH FUCK YOU VERY MUCH, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN.
A CBP spokesperson emphasized the whole "do it the right way" talking point, too, telling CNN,
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring. Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely[.]
Of course, people who do try to cross "the right way" often find themselves waiting for months for a chance to cross at a port of entry, while being preyed upon by gangs in border towns. Do it the right way. We won't actually let you do it the right way, but you have to do it the right way. Honestly, just stay in Central America and die there. It's not our problem, and Merry Christmas, etc.
And all over social media, you'll see good patriotic Americans (who love their own children) explaining this is all the father's fault, because after all, only a monster would let a child go several days without food or water in the desert. (Or maybe someone in desperate circumstances that went from bad to worse, but let's assume monster.) So you see, this is really only a story of bad parenting, not a system that routinely dehumanizes and abuses the people caught up in it, because after all, they broke the law and that's what happens to lawbreakers. Unless they're the president and they don't like the so-called "law." But that's different.
And because the current regime is run and supported by people who've apparently deported human compassion, here are some links to some people who remember what caring for other humans is all about. RAICES works to provide lawyers for migrants, and that can make all the difference between deportation and a chance at asylum. And the Southwest Border Communities Coalition has compiled a list of groups helping migrants on the border.
Good Christ it's a terrible time to be in America.
UPDATE: Vox's Aaron Rupar has some additional details: The little girl's name, according to the Guatemalan foreign ministry, was Jackeline Caal. CBP says the girl and her father were "at a station where water was available," although the timeline in the statement is unclear about when and where exactly that was.
The CBP statement says agents encountered the group of migrants at 9 p.m. local time and that it was so large that two "transports" were needed to take the migrants to the Lordsburg CBP station, 90 miles away from where the migrants were found. Jackeline Caal and her father only boarded the second bus (or group of buses?) at 4:30 a.m., when the father informed CBP his daughter was "sick with a fever and vomiting." Then, according to the statement,
Border Patrol takes immediate action and radios for an EMT to meet them upon arrival at the Lordsburg Station. The bus arrives at the Lordsburg Border Patrol station shortly before 6:30AM. Once the father and child arrive at the station the father advises that the child is not breathing.
Presumably, the Lordsburg CBP station is where where "water was available," although how that was supposed to matter when the girl was already not breathing is beyond us. CBP says it then called 911 (again?) while rendering medical assistance, and that "Hidalgo County EMS arrives on scene within minutes and they were able to revive her twice," after which she was transported by air ambulance to El Paso.
This is all going to need a lot more investigating before that statement makes sense.
Rest in peace, little Jakelin.
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