The parents of the six-year-old Indian girl who had died of a heat stroke near a remote and deserted US-Mexico border said they sought asylum in the US because they desperately "wanted a safer and better life for her", according to a media report.
Gurpreet Kaur, who was a month shy of turning seven, was found dead by the US Border Patrol officials 27 kilometres west of Lukeville, Arizona, after her mother left her with other Indian migrants she was travelling with to go in search of water.
"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," CNN quoted a joint statement by the girl's mother and her father released through the US Sikh Coalition.
"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," it said.
The girl's father, identified as A Singh, has been living in the US since 2013, and has an asylum application pending before the New York immigration court, Sikh Coalition Programme Director Mark Reading-Smith said.
The girl's mother, identified as S Kaur, crossed the border with her this month. It is not clear when the mother and daughter left their home in Punjab, or how exactly they made their way to the US-Mexico border.
Gurpreet's parents had not seen each other since 2013, about six months after she was born.
Now the 33-year-old father and 27-year-old mother are together, planning their daughter's funeral.
In their statement on Monday, the parents asked for privacy saying their family is heartbroken over Gurpreet's death.
"We will carry the burden of the loss of our beloved Gurpreet for a lifetime," the statement said, "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," the report said.
The Sikh Coalition said a private funeral for Gurpreet would be held on Friday in New York City, "the city her family had hoped to make their home."
Three others from India—another mother and daughter and another woman—were also with them when they crossed the US, Customs and Border Protection said.
The numbers of Indians crossing the US border from Mexico has steadily risen in recent years, according to immigration officials. They are among thousands of Africans and Asian migrants making the arduous journey, led by smuggling cartels.