Doctors of 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez are calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release her from custody. Rosa Maria recently underwent emergency surgery.
The undocumented girl, who has cerebral palsy, was being treated at the children’s hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, when ICE agents took her into custody, notes Democracy Now.
Rosa Maria has lived in the U.S. since she was three months old. Her parents brought her into the U.S. for medical care.
Rosa Maria’s doctors are recommending she be released to her family, but so far ICE has refused to do so.
Alonzo Pena, the ICE deputy director under President George W. Bush, also lent his support to Rosa Maria during an interview with KSAT:
Just not necessary to do that. I mean, this—she could have been given a notice to appear. You know, here she’s just getting out of the hospital, having surgery, and they’re going to put her in a detention facility. It’s just not right. … Those agents should be out on the line, stopping drugs, stopping gang members, protecting our national security, not doing this to a 10-year-old girl who’s just come out of surgery and has other medical issues.
Priscila Martinez, a Texas Immigration Coalition coordinator, told Democracy Now how the Border Patrol wanted to take immediate custody of the child while she was being rushed to the Corpus Christi hospital for emergency surgery:
Yes, so, she was actually going, at 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning, with her cousin, Aurora Cantu, through checkpoint in the—the freeway checkpoint in Laredo, Texas. And she went to the Corpus Christi hospital for this emergency surgery that she needed. The emergency surgery happened at 9 a.m. And the whole time, from the checkpoint forward, the Border Patrol were at their bedpost.
They had to keep her in sight. They kept saying, “We have to keep her in sight.” If she was going to get an X-ray, she needed to be in their sight. If she was going to the surgery, she needed to be in sight. They weren’t—they didn’t allow the family to have a closed room. They didn’t allow the family to have a private conversation. It wasn’t until the next day, when the lawyer arrived, that they were able to have a private conversation. And then they were able to talk to the hospital lawyers and figure out a solution.
At first, they wanted—Border Patrol wanted to just straight take her without an ambulance, wanted to put [her] in [their] car. And even the lawyer told us that one of the Border Patrol wanted to be in the back of the ambulance with the girl, with his gun.
And she had to beg the Border Patrol to go to the front, so that the girl wouldn’t have to see a man, a stranger, with this gun, in the—sit next to her in this way. So then she was taken, after many negotiations with the hospital, with Border Patrol and with the lawyer. She was actually—she was taken to the detention facility in San Antonio. And that’s where she is currently right now.
(Source: Democracy Now)