Former GOP lawmaker on death of 7-year-old migrant girl: Message should be ‘don’t make this journey, it will kill you’

Former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) said Friday night that the death of a 7-year-old migrant girl in federal custody should be a message to other migrants not to make the journey to the U.S. because “it will kill you.”

Chaffetz acted as guest host of Fox News’s “Hannity” after the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) inspector general announced it would investigate the death of the young girl from Guatemala while in Border Control’s custody.

“The sad reality is we have a 7-year-old girl who has died, and she should have never, ever made that journey,” Chaffetz said. “And that should be the message, don’t make this journey, it will kill you, and that should be the message.”

The Trump administration announced Thursday that the girl, identified as Jakelin Caal Maquin, had died from dehydration and shock while in U.S. custody. The case has put renewed scrutiny on the treatment of migrants in federal custody.{mosads}

“Frankly I think the message should be ‘no, stay there, stay in your own country of origin. Go to the embassy. Apply for the 90 different visas,’ ” Chaffetz said on Fox News.

The young girl had crossed the border last week with her father and a group of other migrants and was taken into custody by Border Patrol in New Mexico.

She reportedly began having seizures eight hours after being detained, and emergency responders found that the girl “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.” She died less than 24 hours later.

“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,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. “Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.”

Chaffetz’s remarks echoed those of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who said the girl’s death was a “very sad example of the dangers of this journey.”

“This family chose to cross illegally. They were about 90 miles away where we could process them,” Nielsen said during an appearance Friday morning on “Fox & Friends.”

“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.” 

Tags Border Patrol Homeland security Immigration Jason Chaffetz Jason Chaffetz Kirstjen Nielsen Migrant
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