Migrant mother testifies about toddler after baby dies at US detention centre
A Guatemalan woman, whose infant died after a 20-day stay at a detention centre near US border with Mexico, slammed the authorities for its ‘cruelty’ in migrant detention centres on Wednesday. Yazmin Juarez fled Gautemala with her 19 month daughter, Mariee, seeking safety and a better future in 2018.
Juarez was speaking recently at the congressional hearing over the poor conditions suffered by detained migrants that shook the US. The meeting was attended by members of US House panel. Mariee was one of the seven children to die while in the custody of US immigration agencies or shortly after being released.
She said the Customs and Border Protection facility locked mother-daughter in a freezing cold cage along with 30 other people and they had to sleep on the concrete floor. The duo was then moved to an ICE detention centre when Mariee took ill. They were then sent to South Texas Family Residential centre in Dilley, where a nurse found her to be healthy. She said no effort was being made to separate the healthy from the sick or take care of them.
She added, “Within a week, Mariee started to cough and sneeze and she had to queue up before being attended by a doctor. I was told that Mariee was having respiratory infection and prescribed Tylenol and honey for her cough. Mariee soon began vomiting and suffered from diarrhea, fever and eventually stopped eating.”
“I begged the doctors and medical staff to give her the care I knew she needed but they didn’t. Instead, I watched my baby girl die slowly and painfully just a few months before her second birthday and when my country was celebrating mother’s day. The hospital staff handed me a paper with Mariee’s handprints in pink,” Juarez said.
In 2018, Juarez filed a $60 million lawsuit against the US government in connection with her child’s death.