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Times Square billboard says DHS ‘murdered’ Guatemalan girl

December 19, 2018

An immigrant-rights group said it’s bought space for a billboard in Times Square in New York to run a message accusing the Border Patrol of murdering the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died after crossing the border earlier this month.

United We Dream, the group, says the ad is meant to convince Congress not to allocate any more money for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the two main agencies that arrest illegal immigrants.

The billboard includes the names of several high-profile migrants, including a transgender woman who died in ICE custody, a woman shot and killed by Border Patrol while she was part of a group assaulting agents, and 7-year-old Jakelin Amei Maquin, who died in Border Patrol custody after trekking through the desert.

“Murdered,” the billboard labels the deaths of the three.

That label, though, stands in contrast to what Jakelin’s father has reportedly said. He said agents did everything they could to save his daughter, who authorities say went into septic shock and died despite heroic efforts to save her.

And even congressional Democrats who had at first accused the Border Patrol of withholding water or care from Jakelin now say, after visiting the New Mexico area where she was in custody, that her death was a tragic outcome of lack of resources and training to handle the massive influx of groups of migrants jumping the border.

According to authorities, Jakelin and her father were part of a group of 163 migrants who jumped the border at night in remote New Mexico earlier this month. The rough location meant it took agents hours to move the migrants to a station where they could be processed and at some point along the way, Jakelin stopped breathing.

Agents twice revived her, and she was flown to a hospital, but later died after suffering liver failure, stopped breathing and had a heart attack.

The Border Patrol says Jakelin had access to water and a bathroom and said her father, to whom the screening questions were directed, never indicated she was in distress.

United We Dream, though, portrayed her death as the consequence of President Trump’s immigration policies.

“We created this ad with the intention of showing people that Trump’s demands aren’t only about a wall, they’re about people’s lives. Giving the deportation agencies of ICE and CBP more money will mean more people detained, more families separated and more deaths,” said Sanaa Abrar, advocacy director at the group.

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