Just as the Robert Mueller report showed no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the recently released autopsy of Jakelin Caal Maquin exonerated the brave men and women of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regarding the little Guatemalan girl’s death. As with the Mueller report, the El Paso Medical Examiner’s findings were released on a Friday afternoon to distract from exculpatory evidence favoring the CBP. The autopsy showed bacteria in Jakelin’s lungs, liver, spleen and adrenal glands, revealing a rapid infection leading to multiple organ failure. Her septic struggle began long before her father dragged her across the desert to her death.
When much of the media and most Democrats were crucifying CBP, I was the first … to argue that asylum fraud was the real culprit in her death, pointing out that if the child of a U.S. citizen died during their parent’s commission of a burglary, that parent would be charged with felony murder. Instead of a similar call for charges to be filed against Jakelin’s father, New Mexico’s congressional delegation tried to blame President Trump’s policies and the heroic men and women of CBP, overlooking the fact it was those very same CBP officers who revived the child several times while attempting to save her life.
During his April Fools’ Day announcement for the U.S. Senate, Rep. Ben Ray Luján failed to apologize for demanding CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan resign and ignored the Albuquerque Journal’s challenge to acknowledge the crisis at the border. Worse, Lujan didn’t lift a finger to address the kind of rampant asylum fraud happening every day that precipitated Jakelin’s death. Homeland Security officials have urged Congress to close these asylum loopholes that create deadly incentives for migrants to bring children in hopes of avoiding detention and deportation. Senate Democrats haven’t budged either because the truth turns their “children in cages” narrative upside down.
As a signal to other migrant parents who might similarly endanger their children, I believe Jakelin’s father should be charged with felony murder now that the autopsy has confirmed she was gravely ill before crossing the border. Given that a separate autopsy revealed still another Guatemalan child, Felipe Alonzo, died from complications of influenza B and a bacterial infection, charges may be appropriate against his father as well. If American lawyers or open-border activists provided coaching on how to commit asylum fraud, they should also be prosecuted. Again, let’s be clear about why these fathers dragged their children across the desert: to avoid immediate deportation and to blend into our population in 21 days.
How strong is the evidence to support the charges of asylum fraud and felony murder against Jakelin’s father? 18 USC § 1001(a)(2) states that making “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” to a federal official, in this case, a CBP officer, is a felony.
The asylum claim at issue raises many questions. If Jakelin’s father were indeed fleeing some sort of oppression in Guatemala, why did he leave his wife and younger children behind? Why did he reject Mexico’s offer of asylum pursuant to the “First Safe Country” doctrine? Newspaper interviews with his family confirmed he was merely heading to the U.S. to find work, not running from anything justifying his fraudulent claim.
My wife is an immigrant. She followed the rules, both to cross the border and to earn U.S. citizenship, and it took her 14 years to do it. In addition to beefing up physical border security, Congress needs to close the loopholes that allow cheaters to game the system in the first place. I’ve been a law professor. If you cheat in my class, you fail. You should never get a better deal than the students who didn’t cheat.