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Nielsen: This Is What Happens 'When Migrants Come Illegally'

Homeland Security chief calls the death of 7-year-old girl 'heart-wrenching'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2018 10:36 AM CST

(Newser) – The Trump administration views the death of a 7-year-old girl in the custody of US Border Patrol as "a very sad example of the dangers" migrants face during illegal border crossings. "We cannot stress how dangerous the journey is when migrants come illegally," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a Friday interview with Fox & Friends. The Guatemalan girl and her father were among about 160 people who turned themselves in to border agents in New Mexico on Dec. 6. “This family chose to cross illegally,” said Nielsen, per Politico. “They were about 90 miles away from where we could process them." It was a such a large crowd that "it took our Border Patrol folks a couple times to get them all.” She called the death "heart wrenching."

The girl began having seizures within hours, and the border agency says she apparently hadn't had food or water for several days. Found to be running a 105.7-degree fever, she died less than 48 hours after she taken into custody, per the Washington Post. "My heart goes out to the family, all of DHS," Nielsen said. Fox News reports Democrats are now "weaponizing the death," referencing a Thursday tweet from California Sen. Kamala Harris. "This is tragic. We need a full and thorough account of what happened before this 7-year-old girl died of dehydration and exhaustion," it reads. (More on the death here.)

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