Lofgren & Conyers: detention of 10-year-old disabled child unjust and inhumane

October 26, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following reports that a ten-year-old disabled child was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents immediately after emergency surgery at the Driscoll's Children hospital in Corpus Christi, U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) wrote to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke today raising concerns that the child's detention is unjust, inhumane, and will create community-wide fear resulting in immigrants not seeking medical care, even for their children.

According to news reports, Rosamaria Hernandez was brought to the United States as a three-month-old baby. She suffers from cerebral palsy, and was detained after her ambulance crossed a Border Patrol checkpoint traveling from Laredo to Corpus Chirsti. Border Patrol agents followed her to the hospital and waited outside her hospital room.

The letter reads:

"The Trump Administration has repeatedly told the American people that DHS enforcement efforts regarding immigration detention and deportation would focus on the "bad hombres" and the "gang members."  Rosamaria Hernandez is neither.  She is a vulnerable, disabled child who recently underwent a surgical operation.  She needs to be with her family and not in immigration custody.

"This is yet another example of the Trump Administration failing to follow DHS Sensitive Locations guidelines.  The DHS Sensitive Location memo states that enforcement actions shall not occur at hospitals unless there are exigent circumstances.  These exigent circumstances include national security, terrorism, an imminent risk of death, violence or physical harm, or an imminent danger to public safety.

"In this case, this vulnerable child presented no risk of terrorism, danger to the community, nor to the public safety.  On the contrary, DHS's decision to detain a 10-year-old child with cerebral palsy who just received emergency surgery only risks the child's life and her well-being.  It increases her risk of post-operative infection and medical complications."

A link to the full letter is here.

Zoe Lofgren is the Senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. John Conyers Jr. is the Senior Democrat on the full House Judiciary Committee.

# # #