Undocumented Girl, 10, With Cerebral Palsy Faces Deportation After Crossing Checkpoint to Get Surgery

News - Caitlin Nolan

An undocumented girl with cerebral palsy faces deportation from the place she's called home for nearly a decade after undergoing gallbladder surgery in Texas.

Rosamaria Hernandez, 10, who has lived in the United States since she was 3 months old, was traveling from Driscoll’s Children Hospital in Laredo to their Corpus Christi location for the procedure when she crossed a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint, according to immigrant rights officials at DreamActivist.org.

“CBP agents detained Rosamaria at the border patrol checkpoint, despite her traveling in an ambulance and with [a] U.S. citizen family member,” the website’s petition for the little girl said.

Federal agents escorted the family to the hospital and posted themselves outside the child’s hospital room, authorities said.
“Border Patrol... have told her she has two options; sign voluntary departure or spend up to three weeks in detention,” DreamActivist.org’s petition said. “Families should not have to decide between getting lifesaving help, or being deported.”

News of Rosamaria’s plight left many outraged and questioning CBP’s priorities.

“I challenge President Trump and Acting Secretary Duke to show that this enforcement operation is prioritizing a dangerous criminal,” Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro said in a statement. “A small child who just had surgery is not a threat to Texans’ safety or our national security. DHS should focus its resources elsewhere.”

After the hospital released Rosamaria, she was taken into custody and transferred to a San Antonio shelter for kids for three weeks, her family’s Los Angeles-based attorney Alex Galvez told BuzzFeed News.

“What this administration wants to do is create fear in the immigrant community,” he told the news website. “There’s no reason immigration should’ve gone to this extreme to detain a 10-year-old at a hospital.”

Once Rosamaria is released, she will have to go before an immigration judge to stop her deportation.

Galvez said he anticipates filing an asylum bid for Rosamaria because of the discrimination she would face in Mexico due to her cerebral palsy.

"The Laredo Sector Border Patrol is committed to enforcing the immigration laws of this nation," a CBP spokesperson said in a statement to InsideEdition.com. "Travelers that present themselves for immigration inspections at our checkpoints are inspected thoroughly and expeditiously."

Border Patrol officers encountered Rosamaria and her adult cousin, a U.S. citizen, in the primary inspection lane of the Freer Border Patrol Checkpoint on Highway 59, east of Laredo, the spokesperson said. 

"Due to the juvenile’s medical condition, Border Patrol agents escorted her and her cousin to a Corpus Christi hospital where she could receive appropriate medical care," the spokesperson said. "Per the immigration laws of the United States, once medically cleared she will be processed accordingly. The Mexican Consulate has been advised of the situation by Laredo Sector Border Patrol."

Rosamaria is currently in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The agency has not yet responded to an InsideEdition.com request for comment.