Wanted a safer, better life for Gurpreet, say parents of girl who died on the US…

The parents of a six-year-old girl who died in an Arizona desert earlier this month have said in a statement that they were desperate and sought asylum in the United States in the hope of a “safer and better life” for their daughter.

Gurpreet Kaur, originally from Punjab, perished in a remote desert area west of Lukeville, Arizona, a US border town on June 12, after her mother left her with other Indian migrants to go in search of water, a medical examiner and US Border Patrol said. “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,” said a statement by the girl’s mother, identified as S Kaur, 27, and the father, identified as A Singh, 33. The statement was released by the Sikh Coalition, an organisation that works for the Sikh community in the United States. “We trust that every parent, regardless of origin, colour or creed, will understand that no mother or father ever puts their child in harm’s way unless they are desperate.”

Kaur’s death, the second recorded fatality of a migrant child this year in Arizona’s southern deserts, highlighted the danger of summer heat as a surge of migrant families cross the US-Mexico border to seek asylum. Her body is being flown into New York and her funeral will be held on June 28 in the city.

“We will carry the burden of the loss of our beloved Gurpreet for a lifetime, but we will also continue to hold onto the hope that America remains a compassionate nation grounded in the immigrant ideals that make diversity this nation’s greatest strength,” it added.

Singh has been in the US since 2013 with a pending asylum application before the New York court. Gurpreet’s mother was released from an Arizona Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing facility on June 18 and allowed to travel by bus to New York. She has been issued a notice to appear before the immigration court in New York, but no dates have been given.

First Published: Jun 26, 2019 02:18 IST

Updated: June 26, 2019 — 2:57 am