A young Guatemalan girl was taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody last week after her father, along with a large group of migrants, had crossed into the U.S. illegally. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released the news on Thursday that the girl had died in custody due to shock and dehydration.
According to the CBP, the 7-year-old girl and her father were taken into custody around 10 p.m. Dec. 6 as they were a part of a large group of 163 people who were turning themselves in for crossing illegally along a span of New Mexico desert, The Washington Post reported.
The girl began having seizures the next morning and had a body temperature of 105.7 degrees — she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”
CBP said she was “revived” in the helicopter that was flying her to a hospital in El Paso, “However, the child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported,” the Post reported.
The White House responds
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley responded to the death of the young girl, saying it could have been “100 percent preventable,” the Post reported.
“Does the administration take responsibility for a parent taking a child on a trek through Mexico to get to this country? No,” Gidley told reporters.
“It’s a horrific, tragic situation,” Gidley said. “Obviously, our hearts go out to the family and to anyone who’s suffered any type of danger and peril that they see so often when they make that trek up from the southern border.”
The White House spokesperson claimed that if both parties worked together on border laws, then it would “disincentivize” people from trying to cross the border illegally.
“If we could just come together and pass some common-sense laws to disincentivize people from coming up from the border and encourage them to do it the right way, the legal way, then those types of deaths, those types of assaults, those types of rapes, the child smuggling, the human trafficking, that would all come to an end.”
“And we hope Democrats join the president,” Gidley added.
Department of Homeland Security on the matter
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the death of the young Guatemalan immigrant was “heart-wrenching” and a “very sad example of the dangers” when people try entering the U.S. illegally.
“My heart goes out to the family, all of DHS,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told “Fox & Friends.”
Watch the video below:
FOX & FRIENDS: What do you know about the 7-year-old girl who died in Border Patrol custody?@SecNielsen: "This is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey. This family chose to cross illegally… I cannot stress [enough] how dangerous this journey is." pic.twitter.com/bjFMdFlW3E
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 14, 2018
“This family chose to cross illegally,” Nielsen said. “They were about 90 miles away from where we could process them. They came in such a large crowd, it took our Border Patrol folks a couple times to get them all.”
She added that CBP gave the family “immediate care,” but “I cannot stress how dangerous the journey is when migrants come illegally.”
On Friday, the DHS inspector general said they will be launching an investigation into the situation of the girl’s death.