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The Trump Administration’s deportation machinery hit a new low this week with the arrest and detention of 10-year old Rosa Maria Hernandez in Texas. Rosa Maria has cerebral palsy and has lived in Texas since she was three months old. Earlier this week, she had to pass through a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoint in Texas to reach a hospital in Corpus Christi, where she underwent gallbladder surgery. At the checkpoint, CBP sent agents to escort the ambulance the rest of the way to Corpus Christi – and then waited outside Rosa Maria’s hospital room, eventually detaining her, separating her from her family, and sending her to a shelter in San Antonio to face deportation.
As the Washington Post recapped:
Federal agents let Rosa Maria proceed to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi but followed her there and then stood outside her room during the surgery. At first, the agents wouldn’t allow the door of the hospital room to be closed, family members said. Anywhere Rosa Maria went, the agents followed.
…Rosa Maria was taken Wednesday to a children’s shelter in San Antonio, which typically holds children who come across the border alone from Central America — not children who’ve been in the United States for several years. Immigrants detained by the federal government are usually adults, who await a trial for deportation, or families that have just arrived at the border.
…“The Laredo Sector Border Patrol is committed to enforcing the immigration laws of this nation,” the spokesperson said. “Per the immigration laws of the United States, once medically cleared [Rosa Maria] will be processed accordingly.”
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
Our nation under Trump and under his heartless deportation force from CBP and ICE have hit a new low. You can’t get more cold than stalking a 10-year disabled child on her way to emergency surgery and then separating her from her mother. Are we, as Americans, to somehow feel proud that a group of armed government agents have apprehended a distressed 10 year old child? Where are our values? What public interest is served by depriving this young girl of her dignity? Even by the callous standards of the Trump Administration, the case of Rosa Maria Hernandez is outrageous. This isn’t law enforcement; this is child cruelty. Rosa Maria should be returned and reunited with her mother immediately.