October 31, 2017

Castro, O’Rourke Call for Release of 10-Year-Old Rosa Maria Hernandez from Federal Custody

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressmen Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, calling for the immediate release of Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year-old child with cerebral palsy who was detained last week by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents after receiving emergency gallbladder surgery.

“Rosa Maria’s health requires immediate attention, and her safe return to her parents and doctors is necessary to ensure her well-being. No child should have to endure what she is experiencing,” said Rep. Castro. “Any plans for Rosa Maria’s removal from the United States should be cancelled and any proceedings against her should be administratively closed based on humanitarian grounds. The Trump Administration needs to focus its resources on targeting dangerous criminals, not ill children. The President’s callous immigration policies continue to reach new, inhumane lows.”

CBP officials encountered Rosa Maria at a border patrol checkpoint in Freer, Texas on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 as she made her way via ambulance to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas to undergo a life sustaining procedure. The officials allowed the ambulance to continue, but staked out Rosa Maria in the hospital during her stay. Rosa Maria was taken into custody and is now being processed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, instead of being reunited with her parents. 

"Rosa was brought to Texas as an infant and is being detained after seeking emergency care. This can’t be who we’ve become," said Rep. O'Rourke. "Forcing a child to choose between lifesaving surgery or deportation is sickening, wrong, unAmerican by all measures. We cannot and will not stand idly by as this occurs in our state and our country."

The Congressmen’s full letter can be viewed here: LINK