The Trump administration was blamed recently for the tragic death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who had been taken into their custody after he and his father crossed the U.S.-Mexico border about 90 miles away from an official port of entry in El Paso.
This happened not long after a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died in U.S. Border Patrol custody after she and her dad were caught illegally crossing the border into New Mexico on Dec. 6, Politico reported. Young Jakelin Caal is believed to have died from cardiac arrest caused by sepsis shock, according to the New York Post.
U.S. officials say the girl was traveling with very little food or water for days, although her family insists she was well-cared-for during the arduous journey, CBS News reported. There are disputes over whether her father acknowledged at some point that she didn’t have much food or water.
Then on Tuesday, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo died in Alamogordo, N.M. after he started receiving treatment at a U.S. hospital on Christmas Eve, according to Fox News. The boy was suffering from the flu, according to autopsy results released by CNN.
Several Democrats signed a letter placing the blame for Alonzo’s death on the Border Patrol and demanding answers from the Department of Homeland Security.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, on the other hand, blamed those who take kids on these dangerous journeys in the first place and those who encourage people to come into America illegally in the first place instead of using the proper channels.
"Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders,” she wrote on Wednesday. “Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north.”
Nielsen did head to Texas’ southern border to visit multiple Border Patrol stations on Friday, including the are where Alonzo died, the Associated Press reported. She was also scheduled to meet with medical professionals and assess what took place there.
President Trump placed blame squarely on Democratic leaders during a string of Tweets Saturday morning, writing, “Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!”
“The two children in question were very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol,” he continued. “The father of the young girl said it was not their fault, he hadn’t given her water in days. Border Patrol needs the Wall and it will all end. They are working so hard & getting so little credit!”
The president concluded, “For those that naively ask why didn’t the Republicans get approval to build the Wall over the last year, it is because IN THE SENATE WE NEED 10 DEMOCRAT VOTES, and they will gives us ‘NONE’ for Border Security! Now we have to do it the hard way, with a Shutdown. Too bad! @FoxNews.”