ACLU Sues For Release Of Undocumented Child With Cerebral Palsy

The undocumented girl has cerebral palsy and is now facing deportation after being released from a hospital in Texas. She was brought to the country as a baby.

Man being detained by border control agent on side of road

UPDATE:  Lawyers representing Rosamaria Hernandez, the undocumented 10-year-old who was detained by immigration officials after being subjected to a gall bladder surgery, are suing so that the government releases the child.

Attorneys filed the suit in the San Antonio, Texas, federal court on Tuesday. They are demanding that the child with cerebral palsy be placed under her parents’ care.

Because of her mental and physical disabilities, the child needs special care. At the moment, attorneys explain, she’s under the care of strangers and in a children’s shelter when she could be receiving better care at home.

“Imagine sending your child to the hospital for surgery, only to have law enforcement sweep in and take them away from you,” said ACLU lawyer Michael Tan, one of Hernandez’s attorneys.

Officials have maintained from the beginning that they must act the way they did whenever they encounter an unaccompanied, undocumented child. However, the child’s attorneys said, she was never unaccompanied. She was brought to America as a 3-month-old infant by both of her parents.

"She's lived in the U.S. since she was 3 months old and since that time her parents have been there to take care of her," said Tan.

Agents are given discretion to exercise their judgment, Tan added. So in Hernandez’s case, he said, they should have never taken her into custody.

“There really is no reason for Border Patrol to have gone after a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy while she was seeking medical care,” he said.

Rosamaria Hernandez, the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who was escorted to a Corpus Christi hospital for a gall bladder surgery, has been detained by immigration agents, reports show.

The girl was stopped at a checkpoint while being transported to a hospital for surgery but was allowed to proceed. As she remained in the hospital after the procedure, her mother told reporters that agents stood guard at her door the whole time.

Now, The New York Times reports that Hernandez was taken to an immigration facility in San Antonio where they place migrant children who arrive alone. However, both of the girl’s parents are also undocumented.

The fact the girl has frail health and a serious medical condition has highlighted just how horrific immigration officials in this country are to the most vulnerable among the undocumented.

Alma Ruiz, an attorney who’s part of the team representing Hernandez, said that doctors want the girl to be placed with relatives because of her illness. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a congressman who represents the Laredo, Texas, region, has asked for officials to release the child back to her family.

Still, officials refuse to let her go.

In this era, it's as if immigration authorities have no problem following President Donald Trump's lead when it comes to being merciless toward the undocumented.

Immigration authorities in the United States seem to have no compassion. The latest incident involving a 10-year-old undocumented immigrant proves just that.

Rosamaria Hernandez has cerebral palsy. She, along with her mother, Felipa Delacruz's niece, had to cross a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint so they could get to Corpus Christi for gall bladder surgery. The girl’s cousin, Aurora Cantu, accompanied Hernandez to the hospital since she is an American citizen. Still, federal agents escorted them to Corpus Christi after they were stopped at the checkpoint.

Now, the child is at risk of being deported, even as she lies in a hospital bed.

Hernandez had experienced complications with kidney stones while under treatment at Driscoll Children’s Specialty Center in Laredo, Texas. There, a nurse learned the girl was undocumented. Mom and daughter then scheduled the surgery at the Corpus Christi facility. But as they had to go through a checkpoint, the girl’s status was revealed, and officials appear to have only allowed them to make the trip if they were escorted by agents.

Hernandez’s mother said that later, she received a call from the Mexican Consulate regarding the girl’s status. That’s how she learned that once the 10-year-old is released from Driscoll Children’s Hospital, she could be facing detention or deportation. According to the child’s mother, federal agents are currently waiting outside of Hernandez’s hospital room until her release.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy dictates that enforcement actions should not be carried out at sensitive locations, such as hospitals. Still, agents are waiting for the hospital to release the girl so she can be taken into their custody, regardless of her health condition.

The child’s own history should warrant some flexibility from U.S. officials considering the girl was only 3 months old when her mother crossed the border. Unfortunately, mercy or empathy don’t seem to be part of immigration officials’ range of emotions. Even if the undocumented immigrant in question is a child with cerebral palsy.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters

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