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Border Agents Detain 10-Year-Old Girl With Cerebral Palsy While At Hospital

Rosa María Hernández has lived in the US since she was three months old. On Tuesday, after she passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint to go to the hospital for an emergency gallbladder surgery, she was stopped by border agents and now is at risk of deportation.

According to the New York Times, the 10-year-old girl was going from the border city of Laredo, Texas to a hospital in Corpus Christi at and the authorities were alerted that she was undocumented when they stopped the ambulance she was in. They let her finish her trip to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, but not without following them for 80 more miles. Knowing the risk of being detained, Rosa María was not accompanied by her parents but by Aurora Cantu, a family member with a legal citizenship.

The Independent reported that border agents were very present in every part of the medical process. When the 10-year-old was having surgery, they stayed nearby, and in other medical producers following, they stayed in the room. The family, feeling frustrated that they could not get any privacy had the lawyer Leticia González come to the place. Then, she had a long conversation which ended up allowing the room’s door to be closed although the agents’ supervisors had ordered them to keep the girl in sight at all times. Ms. González said that she never received an appropriate response to what threat to the country could a 10-year-old disabled girl pose.

“It’s stunning that federal agents would be waiting outside the hospital room of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy,” Rep. Joaquin Castro told reporters Thursday, according to The Huffington Post. “They’re treating her like a hardened convict who has been taken to the hospital for treatment.”

On Wednesday, Rosa María was released from the hospital and was immediately taken to the Baptist Children’s Home Ministries shelter in San Antonio, a facility for kids who arrive in the US from Central America without their parents, although both of them are still in Laredo, said the Times. The family has tried to release her into the custody of another legal family member, but these requests have not been accepted and agents are being very firm on this case. The child has asked many times to see her mom since the incident happened, but it is still unknown whether she will be able to meet her before the deportation proceedings finish.

Many organizations and activists have started to take action to get Rosa María finally reunited with her family and to get her to stay in the country where she has lived all of her life.

Parents of the 10-year-old cannot take the case to an immigration court because it would mean having to go through another checkpoint and perhaps facing the same fate as her daughter. Since Donald Trump’s administration began, immigration arrests have gone up by nearly 40 percent. These kind of detentions are logically making undocumented immigrants more afraid of moving around in the country, which may be what authorities want.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to help Rosa María and her family. Here is to hoping this little girl can see her parents again and comes back to her daily life. There are bigger threats that the US could spend its money on.


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