‘World Should Know,’ Migrant tells U.S. Congress of Toddler’s Death

REUTERS/Erin Scott

A Guatemalan asylum seeker left some members of a U.S. House panel visibly shaken on Wednesday with the story of her daughter’s death, saying the toddler had contracted a deadly lung infection during a 20-day detention near the U.S. border with Mexico.

Yazmin Juarez told a House of Representatives subcommittee that it was “like they tore out a piece of my heart” when just weeks after they were released her daughter Mariee died at 19 months old.

She said she left a hospital with nothing but a piece of paper with two handprints in pink paint that staff had made for her, and described through a translator how she missed her daughter’s hugs.

Juarez said it was hard to relive the experience, but wanted to shed light on the lack of medical care. “The world should know,” she said.

“It can’t be so hard for a country like the United States to protect kids who are locked up.”

Juarez testified at the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that was examining treatment of refugees in U.S. detention.

Apprehensions along the border have spiked to the highest in at least a decade, driven by families from Central America who say they are seeking asylum and fleeing violence in their home countries.

Images of filthy detention facilities jammed with refugees has sparked widespread criticism. On Monday U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she was “appalled” that migrant children were forced to sleep on floors.

President Donald Trump’s tough stance on immigration has been one of his signature policies. “If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come,” Trump wrote on Twitter last week.

Juarez told members of Congress, several of whom appeared shaken by her testimony, that her daughter was healthy when the pair were initially detained. They were held with 30 others, including sick children whom Juarez said could have infected her daughter.

Juarez said that she and her daughter fled violence in Guatemala for a better life.

“Unfortunately, that did not happen,” Juarez said.

Several members of the subcommittee including New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hugged Juarez after she spoke.

“No hay palabras, there are no words,” said Chip Roy of Texas, the ranking Republican on the subcommittee.

He blamed Democrats for the border crowding.

“The blood is on the hands of the Democrats who refuse to actually address this,” he said.

The hearing came as a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told reporters that border agents were detaining only about 200 unaccompanied children at locations in the Southwest as of Wednesday, down from more than 2,500 in May. The reduction reflects funding increases that have enabled a federal health agency to expand its holding capacity.

(Reporting by Bryan Pietsch; Additional reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Frank McGurty and Lisa Shumaker)

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john walsh
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john walsh

trumphuckedup’s Ethnic Cleansing, Genocidal, and Terrorist campaign against Latino immigrants is working as intentionally, systematically, and systemically as planned.

Screwtape
Member

Of course this “victim” won’t take any responsibility for her actions and choices leading to her child’s death.

I wish a single Congress critter had had the balls to ask her if she was willing to do so.

Otis
Member

The death of any child is tragic and I sympathize, but madré chose to subject niña to the travails and dangers of illegal travel. She appears before an ineffectual Congressional committee? How many diseases are being brought into the U.S. via illegals? Are the taxpayers subject to paying for illegals’ immediate healthcare situations while we have citizens in the streets who are sick, demented or substance abusers? This is a cluster, and Congress needs to get off their collective asses to resolve the situation. Our Border Patrol, ICE, et al, have been forced to be by God babysitters while the… Read more »

WellHungChad
Member

There ARE legal ways to enter this country without putting your daughter in harm’s way. Breaking the law by sneaking across the border ain’t one of them!

Technically, she should have claimed asylum in Mexico. But they don’t have the freebies that the Democrats in the good ol’ USA are promising!

Morte206
Member

Perhaps Ms. Juarez the primary fault lays with you who decided to make the journey in the first place. I wonder did her child pass immediately after leaving detention or were there perhaps a few weeks there where she could have taken her to ANY emergency room. I’m quite certain (as many illegals seem to be) she had already been informed that in a US hospital the child would not have been turned away. Did she seek that care? If she didn’t the majority of the fault, again, is her’s. I do feel for Ms. Juarez’ plight, her loss is… Read more »

James
Member

IF she would have stayed where she belonged, her daughter would most likely still be alive. Probably contacted the virus from a fellow asylum seeker who is also here ILLEGALLY. Don’t complain to ANYONE in the United States about the decision YOU made. YOU were NOT INVITED to come here. Looking for “reparations”?

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