Jacquelyn Martin / AP
"I am here today because I want to end this," Congressman Yazmin Juárez told reporters on Wednesday.
Legislators listened to Juárez's testimony about the preventable death of his daughter in 2018, several weeks after his release from police custody at the US Immigration and Customs.
Juárez said that she had fled Guatemala with her daughter Mariee because she feared for their lives and hoped for a better future. "Instead, I saw my little girl dying slowly and painfully a few months before her second birthday."
Marie had been a healthy and happy baby, making the trip to the southern border of the United States without any health problems, said Juárez. They spent a few days in a customs and border protection facility, which has been described as a "cooler" for its cold weather. She said that they had been locked in a cage with about 30 other people and were sleeping on a concrete floor.
Then they went to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, a sprawling federal detention center. A nurse examined Mariee and found her healthy, Juárez said. She noticed that a number of children in the room were sick and that "no effort was made to separate the sick from healthy people or to take care of them." . "
After a week, Mariee started coughing and sneezing. Juárez said that they had waited in a long line of waiting to be seen in a clinic. Finally, a medical assistant told her daughter that her daughter had a respiratory infection and prescribed Tylenol and honey for her cough, Juarez said. But Mariee just got worse. She started to vomit and have diarrhea. She had a fever and stopped eating.
Juárez said that his daughter had lost almost 8% of her weight in just 10 days. "I remember that her head and her little body were so hot and she was weak," recalls Juárez.
Marie has received antibiotics for an ear infection. "I begged them to do further exams but they sent us back to our room." Future efforts to overcome Marie's ailments, with Pedialyte and Vicks VapoRub, have not helped.
Mariee spent six weeks in hospitals with respiratory infection. On a fan, Juárez said, Mariee asked but Juárez could not take her in his arms.
"My bride is dead, which is Mother's Day in my country," said Juárez in tears. "When I came out of the hospital that day, I only had with me a piece of paper with Mariee's handprints painted in pink that the staff had me." created ", a gift from Mother's Day.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were friendly when they commented and asked questions. Representative Chip Roy from Texas told her, "No hay from the palabras, there are no words." He then thanked her for his faith and courage to testify.
In 2018, Juárez filed a $ 60 million lawsuit against the US government for the death of his child.
His testimony came as a result of scathing reports of deplorable conditions in places of detention. And since December, at least five migrant children have died after being apprehended on the southern border.