.S. Border Patrol officers set up a checkpoint to check the papers of everyone on a route to a local hospital. Among those unable to produce their papers were the parents of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was traveling in an ambulance to emergency surgery.
Her name is Rosa Maria Hernandez, and though they allowed her to have the surgery, she was quickly detained immediately afterwards and won't be allowed to see her family for weeks, or possibly even months.
Rosa Maria Hernandez was brought to the United States by her parents when she was only 3 months old.
They sought to get better medical care for her that they couldn’t afford in Mexico. The family lives in Laredo, Texas along with her grandfather and cousins who are US citizens. But it was when Rosa Maria needed to be transferred from a hospital in Laredo, to one in Corpus Christi for an emergency surgery that things went haywire.
The ambulance transporting her was stopped by US Border Patrol.
And when the officers discovered Rosa Maria didn’t have official papers, the agents followed her and the cousin who was transporting her to the hospital. There, they physically followed her from room to room, stationing themselves as close as possible at all times, ready to arrest the sick and disabled child as soon as she’d received treatment.
After the surgery was complete, agents took Rosa Maria away.
They transported her 140-miles away to a juvenile detention facility in San Antonio. Because she was traveling to the hospital with her cousin, a US citizen, she was process as if she were an unaccompanied minor crossing the border.
And Driscoll Children's Hosptial was already too risky a place for her parents to travel to for treatment.
Her parents had sent her with her cousin thinking her cousin’s US Citizenship status would help them get past the checkpoint. Others had already been arrested trying to take their children to the hospital for care, including this couple who were arrested while their 2-month-old son awaited surgery.
Some support these kinds of hard-handed immigration enforcement tactics.
Noting that the cost of treating disabled or ill children can be very high, some anti-immigration activists seem to think we should work to make sure these children are unable to get treatment in American hospitals. After all, why spend money treating sick children when we could spend it flying the treasury secretary to a better view of the eclipse.
But others were outraged…