The parents of a 6-year-old girl who died of heat stroke this month while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border are speaking up about the “desperate” choice they made to seek asylum in America.
Gurupreet Kaur’s parents, natives of Punjab, India, said that they were hoping to give their daughter a better future by bringing her to the United States.
“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 couple said in a statement released on their behalf by the Sikh Coalition. “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.”
Gurupreet died while trying to cross the border with her mother in a remote area of desert in Arizona, CNN reports. Border Patrol agents found her body on June 12, about 17 miles outside of Lukeville.
The girl’s father, A. Singh, has been living in the United States since 2013. A resident of New York, Singh’s asylum application is pending before a New York immigration court, according to the Sikh Coalition.
Gurupreet’s mother, S. Kaur, left their home in India to reunite with Singh in New York City, where they hoped to raise their daughter. It’s unclear how and when the mother and child arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Sikh Coalition is declining to release the couple’s first names out of concerns for their privacy. The advocacy organization is not representing them in a legal capacity.
Gurupreet and her mother joined three other Indian migrants ― including an 8-year-old girl ―who were seeking to enter the United States. Smugglers dropped the group off in a remote area on the Mexican side of the border and told them to walk north, according to CNN.
As temperatures climbed to 108 degrees that day, Kaur and another woman in the group split off to look for water but were unable to find their way back to the...