“It’s heart-wrenching is what it is, and my heart goes out to the family and all of DHS,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning about the tragic death of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally with her father.
DHS, of course, is the Department of Homeland Security.
“This is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey,” Nielsen added. “This family chose to cross illegally.”
The girl died of dehydration and septic shock in El Paso, Texas, after she was taken into custody by Border Patrol, many news outlets are reporting.
“They came in such a large crowd it took our Border Patrol folks a couple times to get them all. We gave immediate care. We’ll continue to look into the situation, but again, I cannot stress enough how dangerous this journey when migrants choose to come here illegally,” said Nielsen.
The Department of Homeland Security, in a Thursday night statement, expressed its “sincerest condolences” to the family of the child and said Border Patrol agents “took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances.”
“As we have always said, traveling north illegally is extremely dangerous. Drug cartels, human smugglers, and the elements pose deadly risks to anyone who comes across the border illegally,” said the statement.
“Border Patrol always takes care of individuals in their custody and does everything in their power to keep them safe. Every year the Border Patrol saves hundreds of people who are overcome by the elements between our ports of entry.”
“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,” the statement continues. “Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely.”
The father and his child were reportedly part of a large group of migrants who approached Border Patrol agents in a remote area of the New Mexico desert last Thursday, according to The Washington Post, citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) records.
Hours after she was taken into custody, she began having seizures.
Officials airlifted her to the Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Border Patrol told The Post.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 14, 2018
A day later, she went into cardiac arrest.
She passed shortly thereafter.
Some on the Left are exploiting the girl’s tragic death for political gain.
“This is a humanitarian crisis and we have a moral obligation to ensure these vulnerable families can safely seek asylum, which is legal under immigration and international law at our borders,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) in a statement, according to Fox News.
“This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions,” said Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, in a statement.
Still, despite virtue-signaling from the ACLU and others on the Left — who continue to dismiss the rule of law — new numbers from DHS reveal that just nine percent of asylum claims made by individuals from Central America turn out to be legitimate.
Of the remaining 91 percent of those asylum seekers, many people are released on a promise to appear in court.
Instead, they disappear into the country’s interior to live and work illegally, said DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman recently, according to Town Hall.
And that’s worrisome, especially when 92 percent of all aliens arrested by ICE in 2017 had criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal re-entrant, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is also a part of DHS.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.