Immigration Agents Detain Girl With Cerebral Palsy


Rosa Maria Hernandez was already frightened when she sat in an ambulance Tuesday night speeding toward a Texas hospital so that she could undergo emergency gall bladder surgery, according to her family's attorney.

Border Patrol agents then escorted the ambulance to hospital, with Rosamaria accompanied by a relative who is a U.S citizen.

In a statement, CBP spokesperson Rob Kise, said they encountered Hernandez and her U.S. cousin at the Freer Border Patrol Checkpoint on Highway 59, east of Laredo, Texas. "They are taking care of her".

Upon her release, Hernandez was taken to a shelter in San Antonio that holds migrant children who arrive alone in the USA - despite doctor's orders that she visit with her family's primary care physician in Laredo post-surgery, according to the New York Times and Caller-Times. It's especially true for immigrants like Rosa Maria, who live south of Border Patrol checkpoints, in the Rio Grande Valley, and must cross the checkpoints to visit a hospital farther north.

The border agents allowed her to proceed to the hospital but her detention after the surgery has been criticised by opponents of US President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration, which was a major part of his election campaign previous year. But she had to get past Customs and Border Protection checkpoints to do it, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. It said Border Patrol agents were "committed to enforcing the immigration laws of this nation". "Per the immigration laws of the United States, once medically cleared [Rosa Maria] will be processed accordingly".

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Leticia Gonzalez, an attorney for the Hernandez family, said on Thursday that Rosa Maria was taken with a cousin from the Texas border city of Laredo to a children's hospital in Corpus Christi, about 240km away.

It was discovered that despite living in the United States since arriving from Mexico when she was three months old, she had undocumented status.

"It never crossed my mind that they would detain her, I thought the letter we had from a social worker would be enough", Delacruz told BuzzFeed News. The family wasn't able to afford therapy in Mexico but in Texas, Medicaid paid for the girl's treatment, de la Cruz said. He anticipates filing an asylum bid for Hernandez because of her cerebral palsy and the discrimination she would face in Mexico if she's deported.

From January through mid-March, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 21,362 immigrants, mostly convicted criminals, compared with 16,104 during the same period a year ago, according to statistics requested by The Washington Post.

Rosamaria's detention however comes amid a crackdown by the Trump administration that has seen immigration-related arrests rise by more than 40 percent compared to the same period past year. She was later released and a court granted a stay of deportation last month.