Democrats and the border: What they don’t want you to know

Is steel more moral than concrete? House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said last week that she and other Democrats consider a border wall “immoral.” But some of the same Democrats who decry President Donald J. Trump’s proposed concrete wall as a 30-foot-tall human-rights violation actually approved 700 miles of steel barriers under the … Continue reading “Democrats and the border: What they don’t want you to know”

Is steel more moral than concrete?

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said last week that she and other Democrats consider a border wall “immoral.” But some of the same Democrats who decry President Donald J. Trump’s proposed concrete wall as a 30-foot-tall human-rights violation actually approved 700 miles of steel barriers under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (SFA).

Give Pelosi this: She is consistent. She voted against SFA. Maybe, deep down, she wants an America without borders.

Meanwhile, these current, former, and then-ascendant Senate Democrats all voted for SFA, which President George W. Bush signed into law. On September 26, 2006, the Senate passed SFA 80–19, with 26 Democrats voting Yea. Among them:

Joseph Biden of Delaware (“I voted for the fence related to drugs,” he explained in a 2007 debate. “A fence will stop 20 kilos of cocaine coming through that fence.”)Sherrod Brown of Ohio (while still in the House, Brown voted Yea that September 14.)Tom Carper of DelawareHillary Clinton of New York (the Halloween after voting for SFA, she told the Council on Foreign Relations that America should “secure our borders with technology, personnel, physical barriers if necessary in some places.”)Dianne Feinstein of California (“Democrats are solidly behind controlling the border, and we support the border fence,” she told the Los Angeles Daily News. “We’ve got to get tough on the border. There’s no question the border is a sieve.”)Bill Nelson of Florida (freshly defeated by Republican Rick Scott)Barack Obama of Illinois (“The bill before us certainly will do some good,” Obama argued on the Senate floor. “It will authorize badly needed funding for better fences and better security along our borders, and that should help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.” He added that SFA would stymie “immigrants sneaking in through unguarded holes in our border. . .”)Chuck Schumer of New YorkDebbie Stabenow of MichiganRon Wyden of Oregon

Illegal immigrants from the so-called caravan lately have been caught on camera burrowing under and vaulting over the steel fence. One of these barricade climbers, Honduran Maryury Elizabeth Serrano-Hernandez, 19, soon went into labor and delivered an American-citizen anchor baby in a San Diego hospital on November 27. Border Patrol officers told Fox News that the mother, the father (age 20), their newborn son, and another boy (age 2) all were “placed into immigration proceedings and released on their own recognizance on December 2.” Let’s see if they eventually attend their asylum hearing or simply dissolve into the American landscape.

This column is adapted from a column that first appeared in the National Review. Keep reading here.

Michael Goodwin: Why hasn’t someone started a GoFundMe for Trump’s wall?

The wall. Say those words and you need say no more. There is only one wall on America’s mind.

It was even the protagonist in a White House reality show. The TV ratings were boffo!

Candidate Donald Trump vowed to build the wall on the Mexican border if elected, and has had only minimal success. The migrant caravans from Central America ­refocused attention on its absence at key crossing points.

But the wall has grown into something larger than itself. It is the ultimate symbol of Trumpism to both supporters and opponents.

To supporters, the wall, combined with better trade deals, is synonymous with America First. The promise to build barriers for much of the 2,000-mile border is key to Trump’s plan to end decades of mass entry by illegal immigrants, some of them violent, and stem the flow of narcotics.

The president believes national security is not possible without border security and border security is not possible without the wall. History says he’s right, though legal changes also are needed.

To Democrats, the wall symbolizes an anti-immigrant agenda that some call racist. Nancy Pelosi calls the wall “immoral,” even though walls already exist at various points along the border.

Democrats, including Hillary Clinton when she was in the Senate, supported walls and backed expansion as part of a large immigration package, but the open-border movement is surging in Pelosi’s party. Besides, with Dems taking the House and prosecutors determined to nail Trump, the growing impeachment movement won’t allow the president any policy victory.

Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are thus adamant that additions to the wall aren’t necessary and offer their support for just $1.4 billion in government funds for maintenance and added security.

Trump, who sent the military to provide border assistance, swears he will shut down the government if he doesn’t get a deal for $5 billion in wall money by the end of this week. Both sides believe they have the political advantage in the standoff — but both can’t be right.

Perhaps there is a third way, one that would provide the money and keep the government open.

Let the people who support the wall pay for it — directly and voluntarily. That’s what a number of readers suggest.

They were responding to a letter I published last week from a man named Nolan Thomson Hare. He wanted to know how he could help fund a barrier, asking, “Can you please give me a note about where I can find a campaign organized to collect money from the general public?”

If Congress won’t secure the borders, then it is necessary for the public to step in. It would be a modern and critical twist on the Founders’ ideal of self-government.

I didn’t have an answer, but asked for suggestions. The response was quick and enthusiastic, and here are examples.

“I just said to my wife this morning that someone should start a GoFundMe site for the wall,” said reader Robert Zorcik.

“It seems that the taxes we pay are not going to be spent for our border protection by Chuck and Nancy and a number of Republicans.

“Shame on them! Let’s get it built!”

Jack Murray was blunt and creative. He did the math and came up with this calculation: “If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall.”

To keep reading Michael Goodwin's column in The New York Post click here. 

Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.

Ned Ryun: Trump should shut down the southern border AND the government until we fix our immigration system

Battle lines are being drawn in Washington, D.C., over the issue of funding the southern border wall. In a contentious meeting, televised from the White House last week, a heated exchange between Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s over the wall and a potential government shutdown highlighted how far apart the two sides are on the issue.

It, of course, didn’t use to be this way.

In 2006, Chuck Schumer, along with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, voted for the funding of the Yuma Sector Wall, which after being built decreased the crossings in that sector by over 90 percent.

But that was then. This is now. Now the hard-left open border-types have seized control of the Democratic Party. No one in leadership can be seen voting for building a wall: it would be sacrilegious to the left and potentially a career-ending move. Never mind the fact that in so doing the Democratic Party leadership has demonstrated very clearly it’s not interested in prioritizing the interests of the American taxpayer.

In fact, the leaders of both political parties are fiddling while our immigration system burns. The American taxpayers? Well, they get to foot the bill. By some estimates, the cost of illegal immigrants in the country is costing the American taxpayer between $116-$134 billion annually. Now we find out in the last few weeks that 63 percent of non-citizens, half of which are here illegally, are on some form of welfare – again, funded by the American taxpayer. And the longer non-citizens are in the country, the more likely they are to be on some form of welfare. If they’ve been here ten years or more, the percentage goes up to 70 percent. For comparison, only about 30 percent of native-born American citizens are on some form of welfare.

Now take in those statistics and throw in the fact that over the next 20 years between 7 to 8 million new immigrants will come into the United States via chain migration. Statistics show that those immigrants, by a two to one margin, favor the Democratic Party. Why? Because they want a greater welfare state.

So along comes Donald Trump who decided to make immigration a primary focus of his presidential campaign. Central to his immigration reform is the common sense idea of actually securing our southern border. Yet such an idea has been deemed racist. But what civilized, self-governing nation with an intent to survive into the next century wouldn’t want to control its borders and decide who should be able to come – or not come – into this country? In this reasoning, Canada and Australia with their merit-based immigration systems would be deemed racist.

We’re now $22 trillion dollars in debt. Our immigration and welfare systems are broken. Some people are still mystified as to how or why Donald Trump won, but is it really that hard to understand?

As troubling as the current situation is with our broken immigration and welfare systems, it can get much, much worse. As mass automation and AI and machine learning become a reality, this country should confront the fact that it is likely to face a period of great change and social upheaval. We hear discussions of trucking, which is in many states the number one employer, being automated. What we haven’t heard much about is what happens when AI and machine learning replace radiologists, anesthesiologists, or people working in the banking industry. This is all very possible in the not too distant future. Then what will those native-born Americans do when they have no jobs? Now throw on top of that mix millions of low skilled or unskilled illegal immigrants who won’t have jobs either.

So when Donald Trump says that he would be proud to shut down the government to get the funding for the wall and address our immigration crisis, this is absolutely the right thing to do. He should shut down the southern border and shut down the government until we actually solve fix our immigration system.

And while we’re at it, perhaps a shutdown of government might actually lead to a meaningful conversation as to what we really want in regards to the size and scope of our government: do we really need two million federal government employees that cost us $136 billion a year? Do we really need over 430 departments, agencies and sub-agencies in our federal government? Why can’t we permanently break up and shut down departments like the Department of Energy? Break it up into Interior, Department of Defense and Commerce and literally plow the building under and build a Liberty Park. Or completely shut down and do away with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is Orwellian and anything but what it claims to be – and costs taxpayers hundreds of millions annually?

We’re now $22 trillion dollars in debt. Our immigration and welfare systems are broken. Some people are still mystified as to how or why Donald Trump won, but is it really that hard to understand? We finally have someone willing to confront the great issues of our day and we desperately need him to succeed: our future happiness could very well depend on it.

Ned Ryun is the Founder and CEO of American Majority, a national grassroots organization. Learn more at AmericanMajority.org.

Mexico theme park still offering ‘Night Walk’ illegal border crossing experience, amid migrant crisis

The treacherous trek to illegally cross into the United States is rife with peril, as migrants risk death, sexual assault and separation from their loved ones. And for less than $20, tourists can join in the journey.

As the migrant crisis continues to unfold along the southern border, visitors looking for a fully-immersive experience can pay for the opportunity to become an immigrant for the night at a theme park in Mexico. Parque EcoAlberto in El Alberto advertises the "Night Walk" online as a "totally different and unique concept" that allows participants to reenact an illegal border crossing into the U.S.

The "Caminata Nocturna," also known as the "Night Walk" to play the role of an illegal immigrant crossing the border. (EcoAlberto.com)

The theme park, located about 80 miles north of Mexico City, has been offering the attraction since 2004, and participants can choose to fork out $17 ($350 Mexican pesos) for the typical version or $24 ($500 in Mexican pesos) for an "extreme" version that lasts an additional six hours.

Participants begin their journey at a local Catholic church, where they received a motivational talk that describes the attraction as being about creating awareness of immigration issues and providing a source of employment for area residents.

Maribel Garcia, an administrator at the park, told PBS in 2013 the region faced hardships after previously relying on agriculture and the park was seen as a way to create jobs to keep people in Mexico.

MIGRANT GROUP DEMANDS TRUMP EITHER LET THEM IN OR PAY THEM EACH $50G TO TURN AROUND: REPORT

“Our objective is to stop the immigration that exists amongst our citizens, principally from the state of Mexico to the U.S.,” Garcia told PBS at the time.

During the "Night Walk," guests are eventually led through a mountainous area at night with dark trails, where eventually guests are treated to a "great surprise" at the end.

During the experience, participants receive a motivational talk before going on a trek through a mountainous area. (EcoAlberto.com)

While guests may not actually break the law and cross the border illegally, the park makes sure that the experience is as realistic as possible. A video promoting the park shows guests being chased by a mock-border patrol vehicle, and also encountering cartel members.

The experience is also not for those looking to take a stroll in the dark. Officials advertise the attraction as one only for those who are in "good physical condition" and participants are advised to wear comfortable clothing.

For those who don't want to partake in the experience, there are plenty of other options at the park, including rock climbing, kayaking and boat rides in the Tula River. The theme park also offers cabins and a camping area for guests to stay during their visit.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Business Highlights

___

CBS denies former CEO Les Moonves $120 million severance

NEW YORK (AP) — Former CBS CEO Les Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance package after the company's board of directors determined he was fired "with cause" over sexual misconduct allegations. The board said Monday it reached its decision after finding that Moonves failed to cooperate fully with investigators looking into the allegations. The board also cited what it called Moonves' "willful and material misfeasance," violation of company policies and breach of his contract.

___

US sportswear traced to factory in China's internment camps

HOTAN, China (AP) — Chinese minorities held in internment camps are sewing sportswear that can end up on U.S. college campuses and sports teams. The Associated Press has tracked recent, ongoing shipments from one such factory inside an internment camp to a leading supplier in North Carolina. The factory is one of a growing number in the Xinjiang region, where by some estimates 1 million Muslims are detained. They are forced to give up their language and their religion and are subject to political indoctrination.

___

After the Fed's likely rate hike this week, all bets are off

WASHINGTON (AP) — Having raised interest rates with steady regularity in recent months, the Federal Reserve may embrace a new message this week: Flexibility. On Wednesday, the Fed is all but sure to impose its fourth rate hike of the year. But after this week, no one is certain what it will do. Neither, it may be, is the Fed itself.

___

Dow Jones industrials take second straight 2-percent plunge

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks sink to their lowest levels in 14 months Monday as retailers and health care and technology stocks fall. Some of the biggest losses are going to utilities and real estate companies, which have done better than the rest of the market during the turbulence of the last three months. The price of oil closed below $50 a barrel for the first time since October 2017.

___

Nissan board meets but no chairman picked to replace Ghosn

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Nissan's board has met but no new chairman was picked to replace Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested last month on charges of violating financial regulations. Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa told reporters the board approved a special committee of outsiders to strengthen governance at the company. He said the company plans to be cautious about choosing a chairman. Recommendations for governance are due in March, and Saikawa said he was willing to wait until then to choose a chairman.

___

Silicon Valley East: Google plans $1B expansion in New York

NEW YORK (AP) – Silicon Valley is becoming Silicon Nation. Google announced Monday it will spend more than $1 billion to build a new office complex in New York City that will allow the internet search giant to double the number of people it employs there. It is the tech industry's latest major expansion beyond the Seattle-San Francisco Bay corridor. It follows recent steps by Amazon and Apple to set up large operations well outside their home turf.

___

Deported immigrants get their last flight on 'ICE Air'

HOUSTON (AP) — An obscure division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operates hundreds of flights each year to remove immigrants. Deportation flights are big business: The U.S. government has spent $1 billion on these flights in the last decade, and the Trump administration is seeking to raise ICE's budget for charter flights by 30 percent.

___

Next-generation of GPS satellites are headed to space

DENVER (AP) — The U.S. Air Force is sending the next generation of GPS satellites into space. The new satellites are designed to be more accurate, secure and versatile. But some of their most highly touted features will not be fully available until 2022 or later. The first of 32 planned GPS III satellites, all being built by Lockheed Martin, is scheduled for lift off Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

___

Malaysia files criminal charges against Goldman Sachs

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two former executives on Monday for their role in the alleged multibillion-dollar looting of state investment fund 1MDB. Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the government is seeking several billion dollars in fines from Goldman Sachs for breaches of securities laws that involved it making false and misleading statements to investors.

___

The S&P 500 skidded 54.01 points, or 2.1 percent, at 2,545.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 507.53 points, or 2.1 percent, to 23,592.98. The Nasdaq composite fell 156.93 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,753.73. The Russell 2000 index dipped 32.97 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,378.14.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.6 percent to $49.88 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 1.1 percent to $59.61 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline shed 1.7 percent to $1.41 a gallon and heating oil slid 1 percent to $1.83 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 7.8 percent to $3.53 per 1,000 cubic feet.

3 illegal immigrants indicted for murder of American whistleblower: report

Three illegal immigrants were indicted for the murder of a whistleblower in Georgia who reported that one of the immigrants ran a scheme to employ other illegal immigrants and defrauded a tree service company.

Brothers Pablo Rangel-Rubio, 49, and Juan Rangel-Rubio, 42, both residents of Rincon, Ga., and Higinio Perez-Bravo, 49, of Savannah, were charged on Thursday, said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.

They are accused of murdering Eliud Montoya, 41, who was reportedly shot near his home, sparking an investigation by the authorities.

Montoya, a naturalized American citizen, filed a formal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that Pablo Rangel-Rubio employed illegal immigrants at a tree service company, profited from the company and took a share of the illegal workers’ pay, WSAV reported.

Video

The authorities accuse Rangel-Rubio of paying Perez-Bravo to help his brother to kill Montoya for reporting their alleged scheme that authorities said enriched the brothers by more than $3.5 million over 10 years.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT KILLED 3 AFTER 'SANCTUARY' RELEASE FROM CUSTODY, ICE SAYS

“Eliud Montoya was a naturalized citizen of the United States who worked hard and raised a family,” said Christine, WSAV reported.

“He went to the proper authorities to report a federal crime and for that he was murdered. Our office is committed to ensuring justice for Eliud Montoya, a man killed for doing the right thing, by those intent on protecting their illegal profits,” he added.

Pablo Rangel-Rubio and Juan Rangel-Rubio are charged with conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, conspiracy to kill a witness, conspiracy to conceal, harbor and shield illegal aliens, and money laundering conspiracy, the outlet reported.

Video

Perez-Bravo and one of the brothers who allegedly did the killing were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire. Pablo Rangel-Rubio is also charged with three counts of money laundering transactions over $10,000.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ICE WANTED DEPORTED IS NOW CHARGED IN WIFE'S STABBING DEATH

A number of federal agencies helped with the investigation into the murder of Montoya. The probe was headed by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the United States Marshals Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Garden City Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff's Office, and the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

“As Homeland Security Investigations has stated repeatedly – HSI equally focuses its worksite enforcement efforts on those who illegally work in the U.S., as well as the employers who knowingly hire them,” said HSI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan, according to the outlet.

“This case is an extreme, but clear example of how far certain criminals seeking to illegally exploit the U.S. labor market will go to protect their ill-gotten gains, and illustrates why worksite enforcement will continue to be a major priority for HSI.”

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Democrats demand answers, DHS investigation into death of Guatemalan girl, 7

Congressional Democrats are demanding a full investigation into U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials after a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died last week while in U.S. custody, a report said Friday.

Five senior Democratic lawmakers, including members who will soon chair the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, sent a letter on Friday to the Department of Homeland Security's acting inspector general, John Kelly, urging an investigation into the death of Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, The Washington Post reported.

The lawmakers cited "the seriousness of this tragedy and the many questions that remain," according to the paper.

“The investigation should focus on policies and practices designed to protect health and safety, as well as policies and practices that may result in increased migration through particularly harsh terrain,” the letter said.

The letter said the investigation should examine "appropriateness of holding children in Border Patrol stations," which they claim were "never designed to hold children."

The Homeland Security Department's inspector general has opened an investigation, and congressional leaders also promised one.

The letter further states that DHS should investigate CBP's "failure to timely notify Congress" of the matter, saying it's "hard to overstate our frustration" that they learned of the incident through media reports one week after the incident.

From the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted in response to the migrant girl's death.

"A 7-year-old girl should not be dying of dehydration and shock in Customs and Border Protection custody," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted. "Secretary Nielsen and @DHSgov must be held accountable for Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin's death."

Jakelin was picked up by U.S. authorities with her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, 29, and other migrants this month in a remote stretch of the New Mexico desert. Some seven hours later, she was put on a bus to the nearest Border Patrol station but soon began vomiting, reports said. By the end of the two-hour drive, she had stopped breathing, reports said. She died of dehydration and shock, The Post reported, citing the CBP.

Customs and Border Protection said Friday that the girl initially appeared healthy and that an interview raised no signs of trouble.

Authorities said her father spoke in Spanish to Border agents and signed a form indicating she was in good health, though a Guatemalan official said late Friday that the family's native language was a Mayan dialect.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said agents "did everything in their power" to save her.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Rep. Andy Biggs: Congress should pass $25 billion for a border wall and security next week

I recently spoke to a Democrat friend and asked him whether he thought we could reach an agreement to fund a border wall. He assured me that Democrats will never support funding and building a border wall.

I’m not sure that he is representative of all the Democrats in Congress, but he represents the chasm between Republicans and Democrats on this issue. During President Trump’s meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office this week about border security, the Democrats pushed back against any significant wall funding.

At least Nancy Pelosi is consistent in her ardent opposition to the border wall. Many other Democrats – including Senator Schumer, then-Senator Barack Obama, and then-Senator Hillary Clinton – once voted to authorize hundreds of miles of border fencing. Many Democrats have changed their position on a wall simply because they do not want President Trump to have a political victory. They are putting politics above public safety.

Congress – the House and the Senate – is still controlled by Republicans. Consideration of a government shutdown should not even be necessary. Republican leaders in the House and the Senate should bring a clean bill to the floor in the next week that would fund the wall.

It isn’t rocket science, it’s a matter of integrity – of simply doing what we said we would. However, if a clean bill is not brought forward, the president should veto the year-end spending bill that funds approximately 20 percent of the government. Congress will have to accept responsibility for funding the wall, even if it means the partial shutdown of our bloated federal bureaucracy.

Failure to enforce our laws has created an environment wherein people from outside of America now believe they do not have to follow U.S. immigration laws. Our Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are overwhelmed as the seemingly numberless migrants continue coming to our border.

The cost in dollars is almost incalculable, but the harm to victims of crimes perpetrated by illegal immigrants is even greater. Consider Grant Ronnebeck, for whom I named a bill that I introduced, Grant’s Law, which ends catch and release of criminally violent illegal immigrants. He lost his life to a criminally violent illegal immigrant in Mesa, Arizona. Brandon Mendoza of Mesa was also killed by an illegal immigrant. 16-year-old Madison Wells was recently killed by an illegal immigrant.

If you want to count the cost of our failure to secure our southern border, ask Steve Ronnebeck, MaryAnn Mendoza, or any of the angel families who have suffered the violent loss of a loved one at the hands of an illegal immigrant.

The run on our border often culminates with a claim of asylum. The individual is usually released with a bus ticket to somewhere in the United States and a piece of paper indicating a date that he or she is supposed to return for a hearing to prove the asylum claim. Many don't appear at their hearing and of those that do, most fail to prove their asylum claim. We have caught them, and we have released them into the country, thus “catch-and-release.”

President Trump has fought for border security funding during his two years in office. I introduced a bill that would fund the wall. My colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus continue to press for wall funding and changes to the amnesty laws.

Democratic leader Steny Hoyer has already promised an early vote on amnesty when the Democrats take over the House in January. Border Patrol agents and those who live along the border understand that there is a surge of illegal crossings whenever Congress even talks about amnesty.

Congress must act within the next two weeks to fund the border wall and require all persons claiming asylum status to wait in their country, or in the nearest safe country, for their claim to be adjudicated. Allowing asylum claimants into the country and releasing them into the U.S. is just another incentive for masses of people to enter the country and stay here illegally.

Congress must pass $25 billion of border security funding and revise our amnesty laws. It’s the right thing to do – even if we have to stay through Christmas Day to get it done.

Republican Andy Biggs represents the 5th Congressional District of Arizona.

Dems, progressives quick to politicize death of migrant girl in Border Patrol custody

Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and progressive activists spent Thursday weaponizing the death of a 7-year-old migrant girl who reportedly died in U.S. Border Patrol custody — though officials say she hadn’t eaten or consumed water for several days before the arrest.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a likely leading 2020 contender, immediately jumped on the news, calling for the investigation.

“This is tragic. We need a full and thorough account of what happened before this 7-year-old girl died of dehydration and exhaustion in CBP custody,” Harris wrote in a tweet.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., another possible 2020 contender, also issued a tweet amid the reports.

“Shaken by this news. My heart breaks for this young girl and her family,” he wrote.

The girl, originally from Guatemala, was part of a 163 migrant group that crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally and surrendered to the border agents Dec. 6.

Just eight hours later, the girl began having seizures and was flown to an El Paso, Texas, hospital where she received treatment, according to the Washington Post.

Customs and Border Protection officials said the girl was dehydrated as hadn’t eaten or consumed water for several days before she was detained with other migrants.

Other Democrats also spoke out about the tragic death of the girl. Ben Rhodes, a former adviser to former President Barack Obama, blamed the girl's death on rhetoric about the migrant caravan.

“This little girl deserved so much better. Don’t ever give into dehumanizing rhetoric about caravans and immigrants. This is where that leads. Every child has a dignity that must be cherished,” he wrote in a tweet.

Progressive activist Shaun King, meanwhile, said the country and President Trump were responsible for the death of the migrant.

My God. Shame on our country and shame on Donald Trump,” he wrote. “These aren't thugs & criminals. They are people desperate for safe harbor. This is a grave sin.”

The Women’s March seconded, claiming the Trump administration’s border enforcement policies led to the death of the girl.

“Horrifying. She should never have been put in a detention center. She never should have been neglected once taken into custody. Her death is on this administration’s hands,” the progressive group wrote.

It remained unclear what happened during the eight hours the girl spent in the Border Patrol’s detention facilities, which are meant to be temporary and aren’t designed to fit the 163 migrants who surrendered.

Usually, an arrested migrant gets processed at the temporary facility, where he or she spends no more than 72 hours before they either get deported home or transferred to the jurisdiction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The Border Patrol previously said there is an increasing trend of large groups of migrants, many with young children, crossing the border and then turning themselves in. Some say they are fleeing violence and wish to apply for asylum.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Homeland Security reiterates dangers of illegal border crossing after migrant girl, 7, reported dead

The Department of Homeland Security expressed its "sincerest condolences" Thursday after reports that a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died last week after more than eight hours in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In a statement, DHS said CBP agents “took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances.”

"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring," the statement continued.

DHS also noted the risks inherent in attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.

"Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally," the statement said. "Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely.”

"Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely.”

— Department of Homeland Security statement

The girl had reportedly been traveling with her father and a group of 163 people before crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on Dec. 6. After crossing the border, the group approached agents to turn themselves in.

FEDS FIND GIRL, 2, STRAPPED TO CHEST OF TEEN BOY CAUGHT CROSSING US-MEXICO BORDER

The girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, N.M., according to an agency statement released to the Washington Post.

Video

CBP said the girl had not eaten or consumed water in several days. It's unknown what happened to the girl during the eight hours before she started having seizures and was flown to an El Paso, Texas, hospital.

The girl's death is under investigation by the Customs and Border Protection's Office of Professional Responsibility and the inspector general.

The agency’s detention facilities are meant to be temporary and hold a small number of people. When a Border Patrol agent arrests someone, that person gets processed at a facility but usually spends no more than 72 hours in custody. But processing 163 immigrants in one night likely posed challenges for the agency.

FILE: People line up to cross into the United States from Tijuana, Mexico, seen through barriers topped with concertina wire at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego.  (Associated Press)

The Border Patrol has seen an increasing trend of large groups of immigrants, many with young children, walking up to agents and turning themselves in. Most are Central American and say they are fleeing violence in their home countries. They turn themselves in instead of trying to circumvent authorities, many with plans to apply for asylum.

Agents in Arizona see groups of more than 100 people on a regular basis, sometimes including infants and toddlers. Arresting such groups poses logistical problems for agents who have to wait on transport vans that are equipped with baby seats to take them to processing facilities, some which are at least a half-hour north of the border.

TODDLER'S DEATH AFTER LEAVING IMMIGRATION FACILITY LEADS TO $40 MILLION LEGAL CLAIM

The death of the 7-year-old girl comes after a toddler died in May just after being released from an ICE family detention facility in Texas, and as the Trump administration attempts to ban people from asking for asylum if they crossed the border illegally. A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked that ban, but the administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate it Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.