Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz came to the United States in search of the American dream, but what he experienced was a nightmare that ended with the death of his daughter Jakelin . The girl, who had just turned 7, died of a septic shock on December 8, a day and a few hours after being captured by her father by the Border Patrol.
While awaiting the results of the autopsy and the Guatemalan consular authorities are trying to accelerate the repatriation of the girl’s body, contradictions have arisen between the official version and that of the minor’s father.
In addition, many wonder if the death of the little girl could have been prevented and how prepared the border agents are to take care of children in the face of the growing number of families that are arriving at the southern border accompanied by their children.
Authorities said Jakelin died after spending days traversing the desert and that, according to her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, the girl had spent four days without food or drink.
However, that version was denied by the lawyer of Caal Cruz who said that the man claims that he took care of his daughter and made sure he had enough food and water while traveling through Mexico.
“She and her father sought asylum from the Border Patrol as soon as they crossed the border, they had not suffered from lack of water or food before arriving,” the lawyer said in a statement.
On the other hand, CBP claims that Jakelin’s father signed a document stating that his daughter was in good health. But in recent days the question has arisen as to whether the father will have understood what he signed.
The mother tongue of Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz is a Maya dialect called Q’eqchi ‘and his second language is Spanish.
The document he signed was written in English and was read in Spanish by Border Patrol agents, but it is not clear if the man understood exactly what he was signing and if there was information that was lost in the translation and that could have expedited the medical care of the minor and prevent her death.
“It is unacceptable for a government agency to have people in its custody sign documents in a language they clearly do not understand,” the father’s lawyers said.
The father also said that Jakelin was a healthy girl and that she herself showed interest in going with him to the United States, according to Rubén García, the director of the Casa Anunciación shelter in El Paso where the father is.
“Jakelin and his father came to the United States looking for something that thousands have searched for years: an escape from the dangerous situation of their country, that was their right under US and international law, but their journey ended in tragedy. objective and thorough investigation, “the lawyers said in a letter.
On the other hand, the president of the American pediatric academy, Colleen Kraft, said in a statement that her organization will not stop asking ” until we know more about the circumstances of the girl’s death to understand what happened to her” and assure that that does not happen again.
Some pediatricians like Katherine D’Harlingue consider that it is essential to evaluate children immediately after crossing the border: “Just looking at a dehydrated child one can see that their eyes are down, sad,” said the doctor told Univision News.
For her part, Clara Long, of Human Rights Watch, lamented that the health system inside the detention centers for migrants is broken. “When the state stops a person has even more responsibility to take care of it,” he said.
Although the government ruled out responsibility for the death of the child, after the death of Caal CBP undertook to review its protocols for the care of undocumented migrants who cross the border.
Kaitlin Renella is a graduate of ST.john’s university, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Buffalo Morning Stars’s entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, Kaitlin enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things New York.