CHICAGO, Nov 4, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – A 10-year-old undocumented immigrant with cerebral palsy detained by US border patrol agents after undergoing surgery at a Texas hospital has been released.
Rosa Maria Hernandez was freed Friday, three days after lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit.
She was detained last week after gallbladder surgery at a hospital 150 miles (240 kilometers) away from her home in Laredo — a small city along the US-Mexico border.
“We’re thrilled that she can go home,” ACLU attorney Michael Tan said in a statement.
“Despite our relief, Border Patrol’s decision to target a young girl at a children’s hospital remains unconscionable. No child should go through this trauma and we are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Hernandez was traveling to the hospital in Corpus Christi in an ambulance when agents stopped the vehicle and trailed her to the hospital, where they monitored and waited until her treatment was complete.
She was held at a government-run migrant youth shelter while awaiting possible deportation. Her case prompted outrage and raised questions of immigration enforcement’s priorities.
The government had said it was obligated to take the girl into custody, because she had been traveling without a parent or legal guardian.
A US citizen relative was accompanying Hernandez instead of her parents, because they feared being arrested.
They entered the United States from Mexico illegally when the girl was just three months old, so she could get better medical care.
The Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services — the agency holding Hernandez — did not immediately respond to requests for comment.