U.S. frees 10-year-old undocumented immigrant with cerebral palsy

Shannon Perez Green holds a sign calling for the release of Rosa Maria Hernandez in San Antonio

Rosa Maria was first taken into immigration custody last week, after an ambulance carrying her to a children's hospital in Corpus Christi for emergency gallbladder surgery was stopped at one of the Border Patrol checkpoints north of the border.

Agents followed her from the checkpoint to the Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus, where they "shadowed her every move", and arrested her the day after her surgery.

The federal Health Department, which oversaw Rosa Maria's placement in the juvenile facility, said Friday that it could not comment on her case because of privacy rules.

" 'By law we have to do exactly what we did, ' he said in an interview in sector headquarters".

Border Patrol agents learned about Rosa Maria, who has cerebral palsy, when she was on her way to Corpus Christi to have surgery on October 24, and had to pass through a border checkpoint to get to the hospital.

NPR's John Burnett has reported that Rosa Maria was picked up by the Border Patrol while riding in an ambulance with her cousin, who is in the country legally.

"Despite our relief, Border Patrol's decision to target a young girl at a children's hospital remains unconscionable", he said. Rosa Maria was then transported to a shelter in San Antonio operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement on October 25, which typically houses undocumented children who arrive in the United States without their parents or a guardian - but Rosa Maria has lived in Laredo, Texas with her parents since she was three months old.


Agents allowed the ambulance to continue to the hospital under police supervision and armed officers waited near her bedside and detained her when she awoke, family members told USA media. "This young girl and her loved ones have been through a traumatizing ordeal". They said she was recovering with her family Friday. I continue to call for Rosa Maria's case to be administratively closed.

The episode began in the early morning of October 24, when Rosa Maria left her Laredo home in an ambulance to head to a scheduled gall-bladder operation at a hospital in Corpus Christi.

Because that city is beyond a federal immigration checkpoint, her parents asked an adult cousin - who is a US citizen - to accompany her on the medical trip.

The circumstances of Hernandez's release into her family's care were not immediately clear.

"I'm a mother", said Ms de la Cruz, who is also undocumented.

Rosa Maria's attorney Leticia Gonzalez told KSAT 12's Jessie Degollado that she was approved for release and "is being taken to her parents right now".

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