Retracing Jakelin Caal's steps in the US
KFOX14 went on an exclusive ride-along with U.S. Border Patrol agents in the desolate area where Jakelin Caal was in U.S. custody.
In the area where the Antelope Wells Port of Entry is located, Border Patrol Agent Joe Romero says there are more undocumented immigrant families showing up.
On Friday, Chief Aaron Hull with the Border Patrol El Paso sector said more groups of substantial size, consisting of 100 to 300 migrants, are making there way.
He said immigrants get through a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border and turn themselves in at the Antelope Wells Port of Entry.
Jakelin and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were part of a group of 163 migrants taken into custody Dec. 6 near a border crossing in New Mexico. At Antelope Wells Port Of Entry, her father signed a form stating that his daughter was in good health.
Romero said the group that Jakelin was with was sheltered at one of the buildings at the port. He said buses arrive there to pick up groups and bus them back to the Lordsburg Port of Entry, about 100 miles north.
He said that port has a small compound that is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hours after agents took the group into custody, the group was placed on a bus going to the nearest Border Patrol station, Lordsburg Port Of Entry, and Jakelin began vomiting and eventually stopped breathing.
At the Lordsburg Port of Entry, emergency medical technicians with the Border Patrol and more medical supplies are available, said Romero.
Jakelin was examined by the EMTs before agents made the decision to have her airlifted to the nearest trauma center in El Paso.
She died on Dec. 8 at Providence Children’s Hospital.
The death of Jakelin Caal highlights the communication challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border as agents come in contact with an increasing number of migrants who speak neither English nor Spanish.
Her father's native language is the Mayan tongue known as Q'eqchi'. His second language is Spanish. It's unclear whether something was lost in translation or whether it would have made a difference in saving Jakelin after the two were detained and underwent a health screening along a remote stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. But the case raises questions about the Border Patrol's use of English-only forms.