Dept. of Health & Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement:
Hello, my name is __________, and I live in _______________, California. I am calling to urge you to release Rosa Maria Hernandez back to the care of her family today. This 10-year-old elementary-school student needs to be recovering from surgery at home with her family, not be jailed in a detention center. What the government is doing is outrageous and cruel, and does not even slightly reflect American values. Thank you!
BACKGROUND (from the ACLU)
On Tuesday, October 24, Rosa Maria Hernandez -- a 10-year-old who has cerebral palsy and was brought to the United States illegally as a baby -- was en route from her home in Laredo, TX, to an emergency gallbladder surgery in Corpus Christi when the ambulance carrying her was stopped at an immigration checkpoint.
Rather than simply allowing the ambulance to proceed, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol sent vehicles to follow Rosa Maria to the hospital, 80 miles away, and camped outside her room until she was discharged. Border Patrol took Rosa Maria into custody and referred her to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, separating her from her parents and family members. Currently, Rosa Maria is jailed in a federal facility for kids, alone, and could be detained for weeks without being able to see her parents.
Border Patrol needs to immediately address and change their policies regarding checkpoints for people seeking medical attention. Hospitals are considered a sensitive location under the Department of Homeland Security’s own policy, and Border Patrol agents should not be arresting people there, especially at a children’s hospital.
Border Patrol’s decision to target a young girl at a children’s hospital is unconscionable and threatens to keep parents and sick children from seeking the health care they need if such practices are allowed.