An undocumented immigrant mother was reportedly detained after being followed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in San Antonio, Texas.
Silvia Macuixtle, a Mexican immigrant who has lived in the U.S. since 2008, took her 4-year-old son to Laredo Medical Center Hospital in Laredo after he broke his arm.
Doctors at the hospital said her son had to be taken to University Hospital in San Antonio because he needed a surgery that can’t be done in Laredo. However, in order to reach San Antonio, their ambulance had to cross an interior checkpoint.
Federal agents at these interior checkpoints can check travelers for a drug bust or can even ask their immigrant status. The southern U.S. border roughly has around 140 checkpoints.
Macuixtle’s son is a U.S. citizen and she was aware of the fact that she might be stopped and questioned at the checkpoint and was fearful of being stopped by federal agents. She then had to make a choice of going with her son or to send him alone.
Staff at Laredo Hospital alerted agents at the checkpoint and although their ambulance was stopped midway, Macuixtle was not stopped. However, a border agent followed her to the hospital.
The woman anxiously waited as her boy underwent surgery and the entire time the agent kept a close eye on her. The boy was later discharged and the mother and son made their way home. However, as they were driving their way back, Macuixtle was detained at the Cotulla checkpoint.
The mother was then handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Macuixtle was later released after a detention of nearly two hours and she now awaits a check-in with the agency in May.
“[Macuixtle was] told [her son] needed to go to San Antonio for a surgery he needed so she had a choice to make: whether she would send him by himself because he is a U.S. citizen but she isn’t, or she would go with him and risk deportation in the process. There’s no need for a border guard in the room while she’s dealing with her kid’s problems,” said Priscila Martinez, the Texas immigration coalition coordinator at Workers Defense Action Fund.
Dr. Julie M. Linton, MD, co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Immigrant Child Health Special Interest Group and pediatrician in North Carolina, told ThinkProgress, “The current climate has led to excessive fear and uncertainty that is really concerning regarding the health and well-being of children.”
She further added prolonged “toxic stress” makes children vulnerable to short and long-term health issues. She said the fear of being deported is so much that parents don’t take their children to health facilities to address their medical issues. This means they are not given the care and medical assistance they require and as a result their development is affected.
It is extremely troublesome that Border Patrol agents would follow Silvia Macuixtle, a mother accompanying her four year old son to emergency surgery, and detain her at the hospital during a traumatic time. https://t.co/4COBdCNoEJ— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) April 16, 2018
Over the weekend, federal agents detained* Silvia Macuixtle, an immigrant mom in Laredo, after she accompanied her son in an ambulance to San Antonio.— Esther Lee (@EstherYuHsiLee) April 16, 2018
Interior checkpoints exist between the two cities. https://t.co/u5FAzE6hf9
*She's since been released.
Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Loren Elliott