A 7-year-old girl died in custody of the U.S. government. Kirstjen Nielsen made it her priority to blame the child's family.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen blamed a migrant family for the death of a 7-year-old girl who was being held in custody by the U.S. Border Patrol. The Guatemalan child died of dehydration and shock after the Border Patrol took her and her family into custody.
Nielsen, using a casual tone, told Fox News the child's death happened because "this family chose to cross illegally."
With a slight laugh, Nielsen said "it took our border patrol a couple times" to detain all the people the young girl's family had been traveling with. She refused to discuss the Trump administration's role in the death, stating, "I cannot stress how dangerous this journey is when migrants choose to come here illegally."
A statement from the Department of Homeland Security also completely, and cruelly, bucked blame, echoing Nielsen's response of the migrant family: "Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely."
The ACLU slammed the Trump-led agency after the death. In a statement, Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, slammed the "lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty" within the Border Patrol agency. "This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions."
"When the Trump administration pushes for the militarization of the border, including more border wall construction, they are driving people fleeing violence into the deadliest desert regions."
She added, "The fact that it took a week for this to come to light shows the need for transparency for CBP. We call for a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths."
"We can and must do better as a nation," Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement. "This is a humanitarian crisis and we have a moral obligation to ensure these vulnerable families can safely seek asylum, which is legal under immigration and international law, at our borders."
Records from the agency said she was taken into custody at 10 p.m. on December 6 and started having seizures 8 hours later. Emergency responders stated that she had a body temperature of 105.7 degrees. In a statement, the Border Patrol said she "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days."
She was flown to Providence Children's Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she went into cardiac arrest and died.
The Washington Post noted, "Food and water are typically provided to migrants in Border Patrol custody, and it wasn't immediately clear Thursday if the girl received provisions and a medical exam before the onset of seizures."
Trump has enshrined cruelty to migrants as American border policy. He has ordered the separation of families at the border and detention at facilities with track records of abuse and cruelty, and has overseen the tear-gassing of young children at the border.
His hand-picked henchman, Secretary Nielsen, has wholeheartedly embraced Trump's racist approach to the border to keep herself safe in her job. This now includes blaming families for the deaths of their children and inappropriately laughing about it with Trump's cheerleaders on Fox News.
A child died in American custody. It happened in a climate of cruelty put in place by Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.