Late last week, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl and her father surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol in New Mexico after the two, who were part of a group of 163 people, crossed the southern border into the United States illegally.
Hours after the young girl, identified on Friday as Jackeline Caal, was taken into custody, she began having seizures and was airlifted to the Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso.
According to CNN, Caal went into cardiac arrest but couldn’t recover and died less than a day later of dehydration and septic shock.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. “Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child.”
In a statement to NPR, a spokesperson from the Department added, “As we have always said, traveling north illegally is extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In the meantime, an investigation has been launched to “ensure all appropriate policies were followed.”