President Trump blamed Democrats on Saturday for the death of two Guatemalan children who died while in U.S. custody earlier this month. In Trump's first remarks about the incident, he politicized the death of two children by claiming the episode would not have occurred if a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border had been constructed.
The comments were made via Twitter on Saturday and were a part of a larger series in which the president vilified Democrats for failing to allocate funding towards his border wall and subsequently prompting the government shutdown. These criticisms come just a few weeks after Trump boasted he would be "proud" to shut down the government over border security.
“Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally,” Trump wrote.
Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal, alongside her father, entered the United States on Dec. 6 and was promptly apprehended by border security personnel in New Mexico. After Caal began having seizures, she was taken to a medical facility in El Paso, Texas where she died a couple days later. According to The Washington Post, the cause of death was dehydration.
In the early hours of Christmas morning, eight-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo was taken to the hospital after showing "signs of potential illness." He was released with amoxicillin and Ibuprofen for a cold and a fever. Later that night, his symptoms worsened and he was taken back to the medical facility, where medics were unable to revive him. The cause of death remains unknown, however, reports indicate he was nauseous and vomiting before he passed. Like Caal, Alonzo entered the U.S. with his father before being taken into custody.
In his comments, Trump alleged that the two children were sick when they entered the U.S. “The two children in question were very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol,” the president said. “The father of the young girl said it was not their fault, he hadn’t given her water in days. Border Patrol needs the wall and it will all end. They are working so hard & getting so little credit!”
Democratic lawmakers have publicly stated they would allocate increased funding for border security. However, in regards to the wall, many believe the venture to be a costly approach that would not fix the broken immigration system.