Girl With Cerebral Palsy Released From Federal Custody
Rosa Maria Hernandez has been released from federal custody, the family’s California-based attorney Alex Galvez confirmed Friday.
The 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, who lacks legal immigration status, was placed in removal proceedings immediately after being medically discharged from Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas late last month.
She spent a week at a shelter for unaccompanied minors in San Antonio.
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But the release of Rosa Maria, who was en route to her family in Laredo, Texas on Friday, is not the end of the situation, Galvez said.
“She still has her day in (immigration) court,” Galvez said. “Only now she can fight her case with her mom and family by her side and she can receive the medical attention she needs.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families declined to comment on the specifics of the case.
Spokeswoman Victoria A. Palmer said the release from custody of the agency’s Office of Refugee Resettlement can only occur after the agency has identified, evaluated and approved an appropriate sponsor.
Rosa Maria’s release comes on the heels of the American Civil Liberties Union filing suit against the federal government for her detainment. The civil rights organization argues Rosa Maria was being held in the custody in violation of her statutory and constitutional rights.
Rosa Maria was transported Oct. 24 via ambulance from Laredo to Corpus Christi for gallbladder surgery. The ambulance was escorted by Customs and Border Protection agents from an immigration checkpoint in Freer, Texas. Federal agents waited outside her hospital room as she recovered.
“Rosa Maria should not have been detained for even a second. She was ripped from her family without authority by the federal government. We will continue to challenge the government to stop this kind of heartless and unlawful conduct,” Andre Segura, legal director of the ACLU of Texas, states in a news release.
The story made national headlines and sparked outrage on behalf of several lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.
Castro released a statement after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Rosa Maria.
“Finally, Rosa Maria has been released to her family where she belongs. This young girl and her loved ones have been through a traumatizing ordeal. I wish them the best, and hope Rosa Maria’s health improves.
“While this is welcome news, Rosa Maria’s future remains uncertain. The Trump administration has not made clear whether they will proceed with deportation proceedings against her.”
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