“I’m right here today because I need to put an end to this,” Yazmin Juárez told members of Congress tearfully on Wednesday.
Lawmakers listened as Juárez testified in regards to the preventable death of her daughter in 2018, weeks after they were released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
Juárez said she had fled Guatemala with her daughter, Mariee, because she feared for their lives and hoped for a greater future. “Instead, I watched my baby girl die slowly and painfully just a few months before her second birthday.”
She sa Mariee had been a healthy and happy baby, making the journey to the U.S. southern border without any health problems, Juárez testified. They spent a few days in a Customs and Border Safety facility she referred to as the “icebox” for its chilly temperature. She said they were locked in a cage with about 30 other people, 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 to be healthy, Juárez mentioned. She noticed numerous kids within the room were sick, and that “no effort was being made to separate the sick from the healthy or to care for them.”
After a week, Mariee began to cough and sneeze. Juárez mentioned they waited in a long line to be seen at a clinic. Eventually a doctor’s assistant said her daughter had a respiratory infection and prescribed Tylenol and honey for her cough, Juárez stated. But Mariee just got worse. She started to vomit and have diarrhea. She had a fever and stopped eating.