Federal immigration authorities have reportedly detained a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy after she underwent emergency gallbladder surgery in Texas.
Rosamaria Hernandez, who was brought to the U.S. when she was 3 months old and was living in Laredo, Texas, was detained by authorities after the ambulance in which she was riding passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint.
Border Patrol agents followed the ambulance to the hospital and waited outside the girl’s room until she was released from the facility.
The Independent adds:
Citing flight-risk concerns for a young girl with a degenerative muscle disease, agents involved themselves in every step of the medical process, according to the family’s lawyer. During surgery, agents were nearby. In follow up medical procedures, agents were in the room. They eventually allowed for the hospital room door to be closed only after the lawyer showed up and argued attorney-client confidentiality — a discussion between attorney and Border Patrol agent that took over half an hour to resolve.
“We had direct confrontation for about a 45 minute period… when I learned that the family couldn’t have any privacy, because Border Patrol indicated that their directive form the supervisor was that the child was to remain in their line of sight,” Leticia Gonzalez, the lawyer, said. “Border Patrol has been unable to tell me what threat or in what manner this 10-year-old child with cerebral paisley is posing to the US. They haven’t really answered that question. So this is where we use our tax dollars.”
Upon her release from a medical center in Corpus Christi, Rosamaria was reportedly taken to a facility in San Antonio for migrant children who come to the U.S. alone.
According to Rosamaria’s cousin, who was in the ambulance and is a U.S. citizen, agents tried to convince the family to have the girl taken to a hospital in Mexico.
“I’m a mother. All I wanted was for her to get the surgery that she needed,” Hernandez’s mother, Felipa de la Cruz, told The New York Times.
“It never crossed my mind that any of what is happening right now could happen. When you’re a mother, all you care about is your child.”
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said he understands that border agents have a “tremendous duty to protect our nation,” but “we should be devoting our resources and focus on bigger threats.”