A 10-year old girl with cerebral palsy was detained by immigration officials after passing through a Border Patrol checkpoint as she was set to undergo an emergency surgery in Texas on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times report, the family of Rosamaria Hernandez says the young girl was scheduled to receive gall bladder surgery at a hospital in Corpus Christi when border patrol agents had stopped the ambulance she was being transferred in. The agents allowed her to proceed to the hospital but followed the ambulance on the way and had waited outside her hospital room until she was released from surgery.
Immigration agents have since taken the little girl to a facility in San Antonio to live with other children who have arrived to the U.S. alone. Her parents however, who lack legal status in the country, live only 150 miles away.
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, weighed in on Twitter, saying a "sick 10-year-old girl should not be a @DHSgov priority."
The unusual circumstance highlights the administration's ramping up of detaining and enforcing the entry of younger immigrants into the country. Earlier last month, President Trump had announced the the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, effectively ending the 2012 program that has deferred deportations for those who came to the United States as young immigrants.
While the president has assured thethat they have the future of the program for young immigrants is still in limbo as Mr. Trump has now punted to Congress to formulate some kind of fix to the Obama-era program.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is cracking down on state's ability to serve as "sanctuary cities" for families like the Hernandez's.
Sessions said that theas an immigrant in the United States is plagued with "rampant abuse and fraud."
He said that too many immigrants take advantage of this process through their use of "fake claims" and noted that "there is no cost or risk for those who make a baseless claim."
Family members have told the Times that they moved to Texas from Mexico hoping to get better treatment options for the ill child and were able to afford medical therapies like in-home therapist visits in Texas with the help of Medicaid.
According to the family's lawyer, doctors of Hernandez are now recommending to immigration officials to release the young girl to the custody of a relative because of her chronic illness.