Immigrant Minor with Cerebral Palsy Detained Moments after Surgery by Trump Admin
A 10-year-old immigrant girl who has cerebral palsy and crossed Border Patrol checkpoints illegally to have life saving surgery is facing deportation by the Trump administration. A family lawyer for Rosa Maria Hernandez said this week that the U.S. Border Patrol should show discretion in certain situations.
Immigration advocates are calling on the administration to show discretion when it comes to immigrant sick children who are in the U.S. illegally but need medical attention.
Leticia Gonzalez, an attorney for the Hernandez family said that U.S. Border Patrol allowed the girl and her cousin to pass through interior check points on their way from Laredo to a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi, about 240 miles away, for the surgery.
But Border Patrol agents followed the vehicle carrying the immigrant girls to the hospital. Gonzalez said that agents kept a close watch on the girl by not allowing relatives to close the door to the girls’ hospital room. Once the surgery was complete, agents escorted Rosa Maria to a federal facility for unaccompanied minors that arrive in the U.S. illegally. The facility was located 140 miles away in San Antonio.
“They’re treating her like a hardened convict,” Castro said.
The family attorney said the girl, being held in the facility in San Antonio indefinitely, will be released to a sponsor approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before undergoing through processing prior to deportation. And that may take several weeks.
“They just refused to allow the child to go home,” Gonzalez said Thursday.
Health and Human Services did not respond to the questions about how the immigrant girls were brought into custody.
A statement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed said that agents did escort Rosa Maria from a checkpoint to the hospital. It said “Border Patrol were committed to enforcing the immigration laws of the nation.” The statement also said that once the child is cleared medically the process will happen accordingly.
Joaquin Castro, a Democrat representing San Antonio blamed the Trump administration for “callous policies” towards immigrants. “They’re treating her like a hardened convict,” Castro said.
Gonzalez said that Rosa Maria who has cerebral palsy also has developmental disabilities which makes it difficult for her to understand what is happening to her. Rosa’s parents are illegal immigrants and have been in the U.S. since 2007.
The case is similar to a September incident when an immigrant man and woman entered the United States illegally, were followed by Border Patrol to the same Corpus Christi hospital to seek medical surgery for their newborn.
“This isn’t an isolated case,” said Astrid Dominguez, an immigration policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. He said that illegal immigrants in the region of the Texas border have to make decisions whether to seek medical care and still face detention- including during the Obama adminstration.
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