The United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, said that the death of migrant children under the custody of the Customs Office is a multifactorial consequence that has taken the country’s immigration system to a “breaking point”.
The official, who is a member of the Executive Branch of the White House, explained the death of the second Guatemalan migrant child, recently occurred in New Mexico, as the result of the deterioration that the body experiences after an exhausting trip like the crossing of the northern border.
According to Nielsen, the death of the undocumented child who was under the custody of the Border Patrol during Christmas is due to the increase of border detentions and to the fact that more and more immigrants get to the border suffering illnesses.
The official responsible of the National Security pointed out that the US immigration system “has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders” and blamed “activist judges” and “inaction by Congress.”
The Secretary of Homeland Security stated that the Border Patrol stations were never intended to serve as long-term facilities for any individuals. These centers are not equipped with the necessary means to act in prevention of events that may deteriorate the health of those in custody.
“At my direction, all children in Border Patrol custody have been given a thorough medical screening at the earliest possible time.” Added Nielsen.
The Secretary also announced that she had asked for assistance from the Department of Defense to provide more medical professionals.
“In recent months, we have seen a dramatic increase at the border of families and unaccompanied children crossing our border illegally” said Kirstjen Nielsen.
According to the data held by the official, in the last two months, the Border Patrol has apprehended 139,817 illegal aliens at the Mexican border, 86% more than the 74,946 arrested during 2017.
Recently, the NGO Human Rights Watch stated that the deaths of migrants in the United States is a consequence of the harsh policies implemented by Trump: from the separation of immigrant families on the border to the right to asylum restriction.
Faced with these facts, Nielsen blamed the traffickers, smugglers and the children’s own parents for “putting these minors at risk on the dangerous and arduous journey north” and made clear that these illegal migrants “particularly children, are increasingly facing medical challenges and harboring illness” caused by the hardness of this journey.
On Christmas Eve, an eight-year-old Guatemalan boy died in a hospital in New Mexico for reasons that are still unknown, after having been in the custody of the Border Police for more than a week.
This is the second child who dies this month in the custody of the authorities. On December 8 the Guatemalan Jakelin Caal Maquín, aged 7, died in a hospital in El Paso (Texas) after crossing with her father the US-Mexico border illegally.
Translated by: José Espinoza