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Family Disputes Official Account of 7-Year-Old Girl’s Death

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Jakelin Call Maquin

Disputing the account laid out by U.S. officials, the family of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Central American girl who died under care of the U.S. Border Patrol says that she was in good health as she traveled through Mexico with her 29-year-old father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz.

In a statement released by lawyers for the family, Jakelin had adequate food and water and was healthy while she was traveling through Mexico.

“Prior to going into CBP custody and contrary to the report that Jakelin has ‘not eaten or had any water for several days,’ Jakelin has not been crossing the desert for days,” reads the statement in part. “Jakelin’s father took care of Jakelin — made sure she was fed and had sufficient water. She and her father sought asylum from border patrol as soon as they crossed the border. She had not suffered from a lack of water or food prior to approaching the border.”

Jakelin and her father reached the U.S. border near the Antelope Wells port of entry in New Mexico. Border Patrol agents interviewed the pair the morning of the 6th to determine if they needed medical care, and Jakelin’s father signed a form saying that she was healthy,

The form was in English, a language the father doesn’t understand. The father speaks Q’eqchi’, a Mayan language, as well as Spanish as a second language.

Early the next morning, the father told agents that his daughter was sick and vomiting, and border patrol agents summoned an EMT to meet with their bus. She passed early on the 8th.

Jakelin was severely dehydrated when she passed, though officials claim all migrants were given water while at Antelope Wells.

The Department of Homeland Security has claimed, via a Facebook post, that Jakelin’s father told them that she, “had not been able to consume water or food for days.”

The also claimed that the duo traveled, “through remote and barren terrain,” a view others dispute. According to Tekandi Paniagua, the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas, the family had been dropped off only about a 90-minute walk from the border.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security blames Jakelin’s family for the death, saying in a statement that, “traveling north illegally is extremely dangerous.” while reiterating that people should reach a port of entry to “enter legally and safely.”

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed this in a Fox & Friends appearance, saying that Jakelin’s death, “is a very sad example of the dangers” faced by migrants.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus plan to visit Lordsburg Station, the detention site, this coming week.

Image via the family of Jakelin Caal Maquin

 

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IMMIGRATION

Jeffries: Trump Holding Taxpayers ‘Hostage’ Over Wall

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Representative Hakeem Jeffries

The incoming chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, had forceful words for President Trump over his request for a southern border wall, speaking out in response to Trump’s Saturday tweet claiming that any deaths at the border were the fault of democratic immigration policies. 

“Yes, we need comprehensive immigration reform. Yes, we need to enhance border security,” Jeffries told ABC’s “This Week.” “But we are not willing to pay $2.5 billion or $5 billion and wasting taxpayer dollars on a ransom note because Donald Trump decided that he was going to shut down the government and hold the American people hostage,” Jeffries added. “That’s unreasonable.”

The government shutdown is predicated on the President’s demand for $5 billion for a wall along the length of the southern border, a price tag that is sure to balloon. Democrats did offer $1.3 billion for a number of border security options, but Trump dug his heels in, forcing the Republican-dominated congress to shut down. 

“At its core, our responsibility in government is to manage public money,” Jeffries said. “We can either manage it efficiently or we can waste taxpayer dollars. And what Donald Trump and the Republicans want to do is waste $5 billion in taxpayer money on an ineffective medieval border wall that is a 5th-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”

The government shutdown shows no signs of abatement, even though incoming house democrats are planning to move towards reopening the government soon after they take power. It remains to be seen if their efforts will be successful against a president unwilling to move off his signature demand.

View the exchange in full below:

Image via screen capture from video source.

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Rep. King Compares ICE Child Deaths to NY Housing Projects

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Representative Peter King

Representative Peter King (R-NY), sporting a half-smirk, defended the deaths of two children under the care of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by comparing their deaths to those that may occur in housing projects. 

“These are the only two children that have died (while in ICE custody)… considering what does happen in housing projects I think ICE has an excellent record,” King told Fox News.

King was attempting to draw a parallel between the health and well-being of people coming up to the border and those in public housing. 

“I think anytime you have conditions like this, where people are coming up, many of whom are in bad health to begin with, they’re living in terrible conditions, they come up in a caravan or whatever, that this can happen,” said King. “I know in New York City, in housing projects you hear of kids dying. Unfortunately, people living in those conditions, that can happen.”

Public Housing is funded by several agencies at the federal, state, and local level, and these projects have a notorious reputation for poor quality and low upkeep. The right also often demonizes them for being high in crime.

King was arguing that people shouldn’t be “piling on” current Department of Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen after her visit to facilities that are at the center of the controversy. 

Nielsen has also been trying to deflect blame, blaming the parents for making the trek. 

“This is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey. This family chose to cross illegally,” said Nielsen.

In the most recent child death, an eight-year-old from Guatemala, was diagnosed with a cold while in custody. several hours later, the child was dead.

Images via screen capture from video source.

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Kelly: Sessions ‘Surprised Us’ With Family Separation Policy

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly

Former General John Kelly, the outgoing White House Chief of Staff, is going out with a parting shot at former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming that the policy that caused hundreds of immigrant children to be separated from their parents was Sessions’ idea.

“What happened was Jeff Sessions, he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly told the Los Angeles Times.

In May of this year, Sessions announced zero tolerance policies that led to the family separations. Kelly says that the move was unexpected by those in the White House

“What happened was Jeff Sessions, he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” said Kelly. “He surprised us.”

Kelly is departing a White House in chaos, as a government shutdown grinds on as the president tries blackmail to get an initial five billion dollars to find a wall across the 2000-plus mile southern border. 

Kelly also spoke out in the Times over his disagreements with the President over the President’s longstanding campaign promise.

“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” said Kelly, who previously led Homeland Security before becoming Chief of Staff.

He elaborated, “The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”

Donald Trump referred to “the wall” as recently as yesterday, via Twitter.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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