Brain Tumor Patient Detained By ICE, Removed From Hospital By Force

by
Alice Salles
Despite her deteriorating health conditions due to a brain tumor, an ICE detainee was taken from the Texas hospital against her will back to detention.

UPDATE: Sara Beltran-Hernandez, previously known only as Sara, is now the subject of an Amnesty International USA campaign.

The undocumented immigrant ,who was deported and physically removed from a hospital after being diagnosed with brain cancer, was put in a detention center where she had been for 15 months.

Amnesty International is now urging the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency to release Beltran-Hernandez immediately, saying that officials should use detention only as a last resort.

The woman faced gang and domestic violence in her home country of El Salvador but left for a better life in the United States, the Huffington Post reports.

Current U.S. and international laws allow for people like Beltran-Hernandez to seek asylum while their claims are reviewed, but despite having a claim, the woman has been kept in detention since November 2015.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office offered its support to Beltran-Hernandez's law firm. According to de Blasio's spokeswoman, Rosemary Boeglin, having the brain cancer patient detained “appears at this state to be a dangerous and inhumane overreach by ICE.”

Boeglin also stated that this type of “haphazard, callous enforcement … undermines American values and any common sense of decency.”


An undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, who has only been identified as Sara, is currently fighting for her life from a detention center instead of a hospital bed.

According to The Hill, the immigrant was removed from a Texas hospital against her will and sent to the Prairieland Detention Center after Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials deported her.

According to Melissa Zuniga, a lawyer in Sara’s legal team, the immigrant had her hands and ankles tied even as she complained of pain due to her medical condition.

The 26-year-old had all communication with family and lawyers cut off by immigration officials even after Sara’s mother was cleared by both the hospital and ICE for unrestricted phone access.

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen says while requests by family members to have access to detainees who are hospitalized can be granted, they “must be approved in advance with ICE and the appropriate consulate.” She also said ICE had reached out to Sara’s family “to explain the process.”

Sara’s attorney says that attempts at reaching out to the Salvadoran consulate were unsuccessful, and that a team of volunteers were on their way to the detention center to demand her release. The undocumented immigrant was hospitalized after suffering from severe headaches and collapsing in early February, The Hill reports.

Under the care of the hospital, Sara was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and her doctor told the Daily Beast that a surgery was going to be necessary. While in custody and away from medical care, Sara’s attorney says the immigrant suffers profuse nosebleeds and even long-term memory loss.

Despite her health condition, Sara’s family says that while in the custody of hospital staff, the immigrant’s condition deteriorated. As a result, the family is threatening to sue the institution. But it isn’t only the hospital that is making Sara’s life difficult. While in the care of doctors, the immigrant was given a CD with her medical records and was told to not give this material to ICE. Upon her return to the detention center, however, officials confiscated the CD from the cancer patient.

As President Donald Trump’s plan to give ICE more manpower while also expanding the criteria used by officials to identify and deport immigrants, more of these stories are receiving attention from the media — and that’s good since many are now living in fear.

It’s important that news organizations focus on instances of abuse and utter disregard for human rights while undocumented immigrants are rounded up and deported, even as they suffer great harm as a result.

Only by shedding light on this subject will we be able to start a conversation, which could pressure the president and those on Capitol Hill to take a different approach to immigration reform.

Read More: Mexican Man Plunges To His Death Moments After Deportation

Banner and thumbnail image credits: Joshua Lott/Reuters / Shaun Best/Reuters.

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