"Hannity" substitute says that seven-year-old immigrant girl's death should be a warning

Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz said, "Don't make this journey, it will kill you, and that should be the message"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 16, 2018 2:30PM (EST)

Jason Chaffetz   (Getty/Mandel Ngan)
Jason Chaffetz (Getty/Mandel Ngan)

Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told viewers on the Fox News show "Hannity" that the recent death of a 7-year-old immigrant girl should serve as a warning to other parents thinking of illegally crossing the border.

Chaffetz, who was filling in for Sean Hannity on the Friday night program, explained to viewers that while he believed the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin was a tragedy, it should serve as a cautionary tale for other undocumented migrants who try to illegally enter the United States.

"The sad reality is we have a 7-year-old girl who has died, and she should have never, ever made that journey. And that should be the message, don't make this journey, it will kill you, and that should be the message," Chaffetz told viewers. He was referring to a story that was broken by The Washington Post on Thursday, which offered a harrowing description of the then-unnamed child's final hours.

More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

After a helicopter flight to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, the child went into cardiac arrest and “was revived,” according to the agency. “However, the child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported,” CBP said.

In a statement to The Hill, the Department of Homeland Security wrote that "despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring. Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child."

By contrast, CNN's Chris Cuomo responded to the news of Maquin's death on his Friday program by urging common sense immigration reforms that don't demonize either side.

"It is illegal to cross, we know that but humanity is part of the job on the border and they know that. She didn’t make it. She was revived more than once. And her father was with her. This is terrible. Just terrible. It hurts," Cuomo opined.

He added, "Don’t demonize people working on the border with false allegations. Don’t demonize those desperate enough to do something like this father did for his daughter… Walls matter but this staredown between the president and Democrats is a deadly distraction. This is a single issue problem. We’re not a wall away from safety."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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