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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Rep. Waters Statement on the Death of a 7-year-old in Trump Administration Custody

December 15, 2018
Press Release

Rep. Waters Statement on the Death of a 7-year-old in Trump Administration Custody

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) issued a statement on the death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died of dehydration and shock after being taken into custody by Trump administration U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents.

“I am horrified by the reports that Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, died of dehydration and shock after being taken into custody by Trump administration customs and border patrol agents. I offer my sincere and deepest condolences to her parents, siblings, relatives and loved ones during this difficult time.

“This young girl’s death while in the custody of the Trump administration is not only shocking, but a painful reminder of the humanitarian crisis taking place on our border. Every day we are bombarded with heartbreaking reports of the desperation of parents and children who are searching for a better life, but are unable to safely seek asylum in the United States as guaranteed by federal and international law.

“Furthermore, the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin raise a number of questions about her treatment as well as that of thousands of other children in the Trump administration’s custody. Did the administration adhere to proper medical examination protocols for children taken into its custody? Did the administration provide her with adequate food and water? Why did she have to wait 90 minutes before the administration provided her with medical care? Why did the Department of Homeland Security withhold notifying the public of her death for five days? 

“My heart aches for the family of Jakelin Caal Maquin. As the greatest democracy in the world, we have a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, which allows parents and children who are fleeing extreme danger and violence to apply for asylum in the United States. Those seeking asylum are not automatically granted permanent entrance into the United States. They must formally apply, go through background checks and appear before a judge in order to determine whether they qualify. I join my colleagues in calling for a thorough investigation of the death of this 7-year-old girl while in the Trump administration’s custody. If there is any indication that this administration was derelict in its duties, I demand that any and all parties responsible be held accountable without delay.”

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