WASHINGTON – Rep. elect Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., is one of at least a dozen new or incumbent Hispanic House members traveling to New Mexico to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a seven-year-old girl who was in the custody of the U.S. border patrol.
Jakelin Caal Maquin is the Guatemalan who died after U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents took her into custody after she crossed into the U.S. from Mexico with her father seeking asylum. They were taken eventually to a border patrol station in New Mexico with the girl airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, where she died on Dec. 8.
Garcia’s incoming chief of staff, Bill Velazquez told the Chicago Sun-Times Garcia was flying to El Paso, Texas on Monday to meet up with the other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
On Tuesday, they will travel via bus to the area in Lordsburg, New Mexico where the youngster was taken into custody and then to the facility where she was held until a helicopter arrived to transport her to a hospital.
Velazquez said Garcia will pay for the trip either through his campaign or personal funds since he is not yet a member of Congress with access to a taxpayer funded congressional allowance. The new Congress will be sworn-in on Jan. 3.
The group includes Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, the Chairman Elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.