Ten-Year-Old Girl with Cerebral Palsy Faces Deportation After Emergency Surgery

October 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


At 2 am on Tuesday, October 24, the undocumented Mexican parents of a 10-year-old girl were told by doctors at a hospital in Laredo, Texas, that their daughter needed emergency gall bladder surgery, and must be transferred immediately to a hospital in Corpus Christi, 150 miles away. Rosa María Hernández, who suffers from cerebral palsy and has the capacity of a six-year-old, was brought to this country as a three-month-old infant.

The parents, fearing deportation because they would have to cross a Border Patrol checkpoint, had to let their daughter travel with only a U.S. citizen relative. The emergency hospital van was stopped at the checkpoint, and when the Border Patrol discovered Rosa María was undocumented, the agents followed the van the entire way to Corpus Christi.

This was no humanitarian gesture. Because she was in the country “illegally,” agents insisted that this “criminal alien” be within sight from then on, because Rosa María was a “flight risk.” They were nearby during the surgery, and in the room for all medical follow-up. Even her lawyer had to force them to leave when she spoke with her client.

The lawyer told the Independent, “We had direct confrontation for about a 45 minute period... because Border Patrol indicated that their directive from the supervisor was that the child was to remain in their line of sight.” She said the Border Patrol “has been unable to tell me what threat or in what manner this 10-year-old child with cerebral palsy is posing to the U.S. They haven’t really answered that question.”

From the hospital Rosa María was sent to a shelter housing juveniles in immigration custody in San Antonio, another 150 miles away. To get there, Rosa María traveled with an armed guard inside the vehicle, followed by two Border Patrol and two ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) vehicles. It remains unclear whether Rosa María will be deported, or allowed to return to her mother’s care.

An undocumented immigrant with Dream Activist told the Independent, “That’s the result that immigration wants to get out of this, for people to know what they need to be afraid of. Practically speaking, on the ground, I think that the message is being heard from the community.”

And no, this isn’t one of those exceptional cases. In May, after a two-month-old U.S.-born baby in Harlingen, Texas, required life-saving surgery in Corpus Christi, the Border Patrol showed up at the hospital and agreed to escort him and his undocumented parents through the checkpoint as long as they agreed to face deportation proceedings when they got there. In February, huffingtonpost.com reported that a mother of two children, after being diagnosed with a brain tumor requiring surgery at a hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, was returned to ICE custody at Prairieland Detention Center—where ICE was going to keep her under observation until her surgery.

The blatantly cold-blooded treatment of Rosa María Hernández, and other undocumented immigrants, is meant as a deliberate message—as further encouragement to the fascist forces that it’s “open season” for vicious attacks against immigrants, and a warning to immigrants and those who support them of what is in store under the “new norms” of this fascist regime. And it captures a great deal of truth about how the fascists are determined to carry out their xenophobic, white-supremacist goal of ridding the country of all undocumented immigrants, and discouraging others from coming.

This disgusting dehumanization of immigrants cannot be allowed to continue. The Trump/Pence fascist regime must be stopped in its tracks, and driven from power. This won’t happen without further attacks and outrages by the regime and by their racist, chauvinist base of supporters. But it can happen. And it must.


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