"I also discovered that there were other disturbing facts," Castro said on Tuesday. "Like the fact that during the 94-mile bus ride where she started to present serious symptoms of medical and bodily failure, there was nobody onboard that could offer any kind of medical help to her and no medically trained personnel."
Joaquin Castro also told reporters Tuesday that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan should resign after a Guatemalan migrant child died while in their custody earlier this month.
"I had the opportunity to speak to CBP Commissioner McAleenan twice…based on my conversations with him, based on his conduct, I believe that he should step down, I believe that would be the best course of action at this time," Castro told reporters.
Castro said that it is clear than many of these CBP facilities, not just the ones they visited in New Mexico on Tuesday, are under resourced, and have a lack of training and medical equipment.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visited CBP facilities in the state of New Mexico to investigate the circumstances surrounding Maquin's death.
The lawmakers pointed out that the remote CBP facility at the Antelope Wells Port of Entry did not have any running water because it had been shut down due to contamination.
On Friday, CBP said its Office of Professional Responsibility and the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General are investigating Maquin's death.
Lawyers representing the Maquin family said in a statement on Saturday that she was in good condition when she crossed the US border and was apprehended by CBP agents.
The girl's father, Nery Caal, did not speak to the press on Saturday during a press briefing at the Annunciation House in El Paso at the request of his legal counsel. CBP granted the father provisional release to the non-profit immigration support group, which is providing him shelter.
However, the US lawmakers also highlighted that Maquin's body was placed on a hard table when she arrived to the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station, which indicates lack of medical equipment there. In particular, US Congressman Raul Ruiz, who is a licensed physician, said there are systemic obstacles and failures to provide care for children when they are in US custody.
Ruiz explained he found out that there was no suitable pediatric equipment for IV fluids, resuscitation or monitoring at the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station. Ruiz also said that there should be an independent investigation with further healthcare experts to identify systemic issues concerning the CBP.
Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, became ill while in US custody after being apprehended with her father on December 6 for illegally crossing into the United States. After being flown to the nearest trauma center, some 94 miles away in the city of El Paso, doctors were unable to save Maquin and she died on December 8.