Grijalva calls for ‘unvarnished’ investigation into death of Guatemalan girl at border

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) has joined calls for an independent investigation into the death of a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala who died last month while in the custody of Border Patrol.

An investigation "has to occur and it has to be unvarnished and impartial,” Grijalva told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons in an interview that aired on Thursday.

Grijalva added that the young girl’s death is part of a larger tragedy in the U.S. when it comes to immigration, saying lawmakers in Washington get too caught up in President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE’s rhetoric and demands for a border wall instead of finding a more humane border solution.

“We occupy ourselves with talking about a wall, we occupy ourselves talking about a shutdown for government when the real solutions if we want to is to index and find out exactly what needs to be done both to protect the values of this nation with regard to how we treat people,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers demanded an independent investigation earlier this week into the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin. 

After personally visiting the facility where Maquin was held, several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus expressed horror at the conditions and Rep. Raul RuizRaul RuizPrivate equity-funded doctors coalition spends million lobbying on 'surprise' medical billing CBO: Fix backed by doctors for surprise medical bills would cost billions Democrat Raul Ruiz challenged by Republican with the same name in California race MORE (Calif.) told reporters that there are still "things that we need to learn." 

Maquin died earlier this month from dehydration and shock while in the custody of Border Patrol agents in New Mexico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a statement following her death, saying agents had treated her as quickly and as effectively as they could and the young girl had “reportedly not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

But her father later refuted these claims, saying she had received food and water throughout their trip together and only became sick after being taken into CBP custody. NBC reported that her family's attorneys are now echoing calls from members of Congress and calling for a separate review of federal agents handling of the incident.

Maquin's death is currently being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, under which CBP operates.

— Tess Bonn