Ocasio-Cortez Doubles Down On the Debunked Myth that Border Agents Let a Migrant Girl Die

Brittany M. Hughes | December 21, 2018
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New York Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has a bad habit of saying things that aren't true, doubled down Thursday on the myth that U.S. Customs and Border Protection were responsible for the recent death of a 7-year-old migrant girl who died after crossing the U.S. border illegally – despite the fact that medical officials have already debunked this claim.

Ocasio-Cortez, who says she’s taking a “self-care break” ahead of her induction as a first-time member of Congress in January, still found the time to criticize Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for her testimony during a House hearing this week.

During the hearing, Nielsen said she didn’t have an exact figure on how many migrant children have died after being taken into custody by U.S. border agents after crossing into the United States illegally.

Ocasio-Cortez picked up on the short clip, tweeting: “Sec. Nielsen has no idea how many children have died under her watch, because she doesn’t *care* how many children have died under her watch. We know of at least one girl. She was 7: Jakelin Caal Maquin.”
 

Except that Caal didn't die "under her watch." After becoming ill on a bus bound for a border facility, she was immediately airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, where she died two days later.

Additionally, medical examiners at the Texas hospital where Caal passed away determined the little girl had died of sepsis from an infection she’d picked up somewhere along her 2,000-mile journey from Guatemala through Mexico and across the U.S. desert, a condition border agents wouldn’t have been able to identify or treat once they’d taken custody of the little girl. In fact, Caal's own father told the Guatemalan consulate he had no complaints with how border agents treated his daughter, and that they provided her with the best medical care possible as soon as they realized something was seriously wrong.

It’s not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has helped spread blatant lies about the child’s death and CBP’s alleged part in it. Several days prior, the congresswoman-elect shared a now-deleted tweet from former Bernie Sanders Press Secretary Erika Andiola claiming Caal had died alone in a CBP “icebox.”

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