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Montevideo, April 24th 2019 - 22:27 UTC

Investigation into the death of Guatemalan child in the custody of US Border Patrol

Saturday, December 15th 2018 - 09:20 UTC
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According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the girl was apprehended with her father for illegally entering the country on the evening of 6 December According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the girl was apprehended with her father for illegally entering the country on the evening of 6 December

An investigation has been launched after a seven-year-old girl died while in the custody of the US Border Patrol. The Guatemalan child, named as Jakelin Caal Maquin, was detained last week after crossing the US-Mexico border with her father, officials say.

It was earlier reported that she died of dehydration, but border officials insist the pair had access to food and water while they were in detention. A government watchdog will investigate before releasing a final report.

The death of the girl has bought renewed focus on President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration policy, and onto the migrants who are travelling from Central America to the US border.

The migrants say they are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence in their home countries. Many say they are aiming to settle in the US despite warnings that anyone found entering the country illegally will face deportation.

According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the girl was apprehended with her father for illegally entering the country on the evening of 6 December. She was then screened and found to have no health issues.

It says she was held in a location that had food, water and toilets before she was loaded onto a bus with her father ahead of a 151km journey to the nearest Border Patrol Station. But the girl began vomiting while on the bus, officials say, and later stopped breathing.

When the bus arrived at the Border Patrol Station she received emergency medical attention and was revived twice before being flown to hospital in El Paso, according to the CBP. It says she died there after suffering a cardiac arrest and was diagnosed with brain swelling and liver failure.

“Border Patrol Agents... did everything in their power to provide emergency medical assistance,” CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said in a statement.

“We welcome the Department of Homeland Security's investigation and will review the incident operationally to learn from this tragedy,” he added.

Some Democrats have called for resignations over the incident, while others, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, have said it is part of a “humanitarian crisis” on the border.

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