HomeIndian American6-Year-old girl found dead at US-Mexican border- becomes symbol of desperation

6-Year-old girl found dead at US-Mexican border- becomes symbol of desperation

US-Mexico border at Arizona
US-Mexico border in Arizona.
© Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

A mother from India dreamed of coming to the United States to reunite her six-year-old daughter with her father.

Instead, little Gurupreet Kaur died of heat stroke and now has become a symbol of the increasing number of migrants from India making that dangerous journey across the US-Mexico border, reports CNN.

Traffickers dropped off Gurupreet and her mother in an area just north of the border in the Arizona Desert where temperatures reached 108 degrees on June 12. The mother left to find water, leaving Gurupreet with another mom. Gurupreet would never see her mother again.


According to a statement from the Sikh Coalition, the two had planned on coming to the U.S. to seek asylum and reunite with Gurupreet’s father who was living in New York. Gurupreet’s father left their hometown shortly after Gurupreet’s birth to migrate to the U.S.

Gurupreet’s parents, who told CNN that they are “from a religious minority and fleeing prosecution,” released a statement through their lawyer.


“We wanted a safer and better life for our daughter and we made the extremely difficult decision to seek asylum here in the United States,” the statement said, “We trust that every parent, regardless of origin, color, or creed, will understand that no mother or father ever puts their child
in harm’s way unless they are desperate.”


According to Gulf News
, Gurupreet’s grandparents refuted her parents’ claims and say they don’t know why their children felt forced to migrate to the U.S. Gurupreet’s grandparents recently spoke to CNN about how much they missed their granddaughter.


In the last few years, the number of Indian migrants apprehended at the U.S. Southwest border has risen, growing from 77 in 2008 to 8,997 in 2018 as shown in a graphic from CNN.


For immigration rights activists, Gurupreet’s death is another troubling incident that shows how recent immigration politics under President Donald Trump are hurting minorities. South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) sent a letter to the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, demanding an investigation into Gurupreet’s death.


“U.S. border militarization, forced migration, and rejection of migrants attempting to cross at ports of entry have created an environment where a child like Gurupreet, can die in the desert, alone,” SAALT wrote, “Until this system is completely defunded and a new one is created… we will continue to see unspeakable tragedies.

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