ETI Breaking News: Child faces deportation after crossing checkpoint for gall bladder surgery

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy is under threat of deportation after crossing a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in Texas for gall bladder surgery.

The girl’s mother, Felipa Delacruz, told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Tuesday she received a call from the Mexican Consulate saying her daughter, Rosamaria Hernandez, faces deportation or could be sent to a detention center after she is released from Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi.

Delacruz, who also lacks legal immigration status, said Tuesday federal agents were waiting outside her daughter’s hospital room. Delacruz is in Laredo.

Delacruz’s niece, Aurora Cantu, who is a U.S. citizen, accompanied Rosamaria past the checkpoint. Delacruz said they were escorted by federal agents to Corpus Christi from there.

Asked Tuesday to confirm whether a federal immigration agency was on the hospital’s premises awaiting the child’s release, Driscoll Children’s Hospital spokesman Ben Castle said “that’s not something we would confirm,” citing patient confidentiality.

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An Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy discourages enforcement actions at sensitive locations — including hospitals, schools, places of worship, public ceremonies or demonstrations.

The policy states that such enforcement should generally be avoided and requires either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action.

Rosamaria was scheduled to have surgery after she had complications with kidney stones, Delacruz said.

The child was first treated at Driscoll Children’s Specialty Center in Laredo, where it was divulged to a nurse that the child is undocumented, Delacruz said.

Rosamaria, who was brought to the U.S. illegally by her mother when she was about 3 months old, is a recipient of state’s Special Health Care Needs Services Program, Delacruz said. The Texas Health and Human Services program helps children with special health care needs.

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