By Mel Dikert
Rosa María Hernández is a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. When she was three months old, her mother and father crossed the border from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to Laredo, Texas. They brought her to the U.S. so they could afford the therapies she needed.
Eva Wagenknechtova (‘20) commented on this, saying, “Healthcare is a basic human right and everyone should have access to proper medical treatment. In this particular case it meant crossing a border illegally, but the life of a human being should be held above anything else.”
According to the New York Times, on Tuesday, October 24, around 2 a.m., Rosa was taken to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi for an emergency gall bladder surgery. Rosa’s cousin, Aurora Cantu, who is already a U.S. citizen, rode in the ambulance with her since her parents feared getting stopped and detained by Border Control.
Just as Rosa’s parents feared, the ambulance was stopped at a Border Control checkpoint on its way to the hospital and the agents discovered that Rosa was undocumented. The agents allowed the ambulance to continue on its way, but not without following it to the hospital and standing “outside her room during the surgery,” said the Washington Post. The Border Control agents followed the young girl everywhere she went, insisting that she could not leave their sight. “Citing flight-risk for a young girl with a degenerative muscle disease, agents involved themselves in every step of the medical process… They eventually allowed for the hospital room door to be closed only after the lawyer showed up and argued attorney-client confidentiality–a discussion… that took over half an hour to resolve,” The Guardian reports.
After being cleared from the hospital the evening of Wednesday, October 25, Rosa was taken to a children’s shelter that houses kids who cross into the United States alone. According to the New York Times, Rosa was taken here despite the recommendations from her doctors “that she be released to a relative.” Rosa is expected to stay at the shelter until the deportation proceedings finish, a process that could take as long as 90 days. Whether or not she will be allowed to see her mother before then remains unknown.
“This is an innocent 10 year old girl who just needed help,” says Kayla Brown (‘21). “If the agents can allow her to get the surgery without documentation, then they can allow her back into the care of her family without the entire deportation process.”