It’s a tragic story, to be sure. Yasmin Juarez, a Guatemalan mother who was running away from an abusive situation at home, sought refuge in the U.S. with her toddler Mariee. After the pair was intercepted attempting to cross the southern border illegally, they were placed in a family detention center at Dilley, Texas. There Mariee developed a respiratory infection. Seven weeks later she was dead, and the mother is now suing the federal government (aka American taxpayers) in the amount of $60 million.
In an interview with ABC News, Juarez said of her daughter’s medical treatment at the facility:
Frankly, to me, it was completely irresponsible. I think they should think about the children. The children are little angels, and this is not their fault.
She goes on to note that Mariee visited the health clinic several times but was seen by a doctor only once. On all other occasions, the child was treated a physician assistant and nurse. On its face this sounds negligent but only to those who are unfamiliar with physician assistants, a relatively new position in the health care field. Also know as PAs, physician assistants are quasi-physicians, trained to examine, diagnose, and treat patients in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient clinics.
These facts are likely to be introduced at the trial to counter the claims of Juarez’s attorneys, who argue that “Mariee died because the medical care she received at the Dilley detention facility was woefully inadequate, neglectful, and substandard.”
But above and beyond the care the Mariee received and the overall quality of care administered by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Services is the unavoidable fact of when and to whom such care is provided: It is administered to illegal aliens apprehended at the border. If Yasmin Juarez had chosen to cross the border legally at a port of entry and request asylum, her daughter would likely be alive today.