Seven-year-old Guatemalan girl Jakelin Caal who died in the custody of American customs and border control
Attorneys for the father of a seven-year-old girl who died under the care of the American customs and border guards declared that he did not understand when he was asked in Spanish that his daughter was in good health and answered yes because his mother tongue is Mayan.
Jakelin Caal died on 8 December in a hospital in El Paso, Texas, in the early hours of the morning. She was detained with her father Nery at 9.15 am on December 6 when she illegally crossed the United States in New Mexico.
At ten o'clock in the evening that evening, Nery was questioned about their health and told customs officers and border police to tell the police that he or his daughter had no health problems.
He was questioned in Spanish and his answers were translated into English and marked on a form I-779.
On Friday, officials repeatedly shunned the blame for Jakelin's death by telling journalists about the form.
But in the light of the fact that Spanish was not his first language, as they claimed, it is still unclear whether Nery knew what he was saying when he told the agents that his daughter was healthy.
It is also unclear what he would have said if he had fully understood the questions.
Jakelin and her father speak Q & # 39; eqchi & # 39; and Spanish is their second language. Neither speaks English. However, the Dutch DPA still relies on forms signed by her father and written in the English language.
It is unacceptable that a government agency allows people in custody to sign in a language that they clearly do not understand & # 39 ;, said lawyers Enrique Moreno, Elena Esparza and Lynn Coyle in a joint statement.
He also fought against the government's initial claim that Jakelin had not eaten or drank any water for days before she died.
& # 39; Before the CBP was put into custody and contrary to the report that Jakelin had not eaten for several days or had not had water, & # 39; Jakelin had not crossed the desert for days.
Jakelin's father took care of Jakelin – made sure she was fed and had enough water. She and her father sought asylum on border patrols as soon as they crossed the border.
& # 39; She had not suffered from a lack of water or food before she approached the border, & # 39; said the lawyers.
The cause of death of the child has not yet been established and no information about her autopsy has been released.
Last week, CBP officials talked about a conference call, along with officers from the Department of Homeland Security, where they gave reasons including swelling of the brain, liver failure, septic shock and dehydration before her death.
The officials repeatedly refused to keep up with their claims.
Jakelin's mother Claudia Maquin spoke of tears in a Mayan dialect and said: "Every time they ask me what happened to the girl, it hurts me again. & # 39;
Her grandfather (photo) and the rest of her family are said to speak a Mayan dialect, with English and Spanish being their second languages
All ICE agents must speak Spanish and receive formal Spanish training. Reading forms in Spanish is often enough to ask basic questions.
But some other Spanish-speaking migrants reported signing paperwork that they later said they did not understand.
Scores of immigrant parents separated from their children after crossing the border in the spring said they had signed forms that agreed to be deported with the understanding that their children would return with them, only to find that they would be without them deported. Many had to wait months before they were reunited with them in their homeland.
Jakelin and her father were part of a group of 163 migrants who were arrested on December 6 at a border crossing in New Mexico.
Hours later they were placed in a bus to the nearest Border Patrol station, but Jakelin began to vomit and eventually stopped breathing.
Border Patrol officials on Friday said agents were doing everything they could to save the girl, but they had not had food or water for days.
An initial screening showed no evidence of health problems, they said, and her father spoke to them in Spanish and signed a form that indicated good health.
Jakelins' family (now pictured) now mourns her death of 2,000 miles away in the remote Mayan Q & # 39; eqchi community of Raxruhá, Guatemala
Jakelin's cousin Carlos Rigoberto Caal Cux, 23 years old, reads a newspaper article about her death on Saturday in Raxruha
Jakelins' family asks for an 'objective and thorough'. investigation to determine whether civil servants met the standards to detain children in custody.
Border Patrol officials did not respond immediately to the family lawyer's statement. The father, who is staying in a shelter in El Paso, Texas, has asked for privacy.
Authorities perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The results are expected within about a week, said Tekandi Paniagua, the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas.
Paniagua, who spoke to Jakelin's father, said that the two had been walking with the other migrants for about 90 minutes before they crossed and Caal told him that he had no complaints about how agents treated him and his daughter.
Caal speaks broken Spanish. In his impoverished village in Guatemala, Spanish is only occasionally necessary, for example when the community has to deal with schools and health care or with work, said Paniagua.
Jakelin was the second oldest child in the Caal Maquin family. Her brothers and sisters Elvis, Angela and Abdel are seen from left to right
Protests broke out on Saturday in El Paso when dozens of demonstrators took to the streets and Jakelin demanded justice
More than two dozen languages are spoken in Guatemala, and the consulate is trying to send interpreters as quickly as possible to help detained migrants, Paniagua said. But sometimes the migrants have already signed forms by the time they arrive there.
& # 39; We will ask, & # 39; Do you speak Spanish? & # 39; And they will say yes, "he said. & # 39; Then we will ask: & # 39; But do you understand Spanish? & # 39; And often they will say, "No, I need an interpreter."
Caal asked the Guatemalan consulate in Texas, who had reached him, if he could see his daughter one last time before her body was returned to her homeland.
That request led to special arrangements at a private funeral company on Friday when he said goodbye to Jakelin.
The consulate asked him if he wanted an interpreter who could explain everything in Q & # 39; eqchi, including the repatriation of her body. & # 39;
He said he did. After listening to the interpreter, Paniagua said, Caal thanked the consulate and said: "he felt more comfortable in his own language."
A woman has a sign with the words: Jakelin Amei Rosemery Caal will not be forgotten during Saturday's protests
There is a woman to see who holds up a sign with the words & # 39; demand a study & # 39; written about a photo of Jakelin