10-Year-Old Held in San Antonio by Immigration Authorities Has Been Released

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The federal government has released 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez from a San Antonio facility for immigrant children  — allowing the girl to return to her family in Laredo.

Rosa Maria, an undocumented immigrant who has cerebral palsy, was stopped by Border Patrol agents on Oct. 24, on the way to an emergency gallbladder surgery in Corpus Christi. While the agents allowed her to go through with the surgery, they shuttled Rosa Maria to the San Antonio immigrant facility immediately after the procedure and began processing her for deportation.

It was the first time Rosa Maria, whose mental state is closer to that of a 5-year-old, has been away from her parents. Her parents are also undocumented, and moved to Laredo when Rosa Maria was three months old to access better health care.

Federal officials drove Rosa Maria the 150 miles home to Laredo on Friday, after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit accusing the government of arresting Rosa Maria without a warrant, breaking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy by entering a hospital, and ignoring her doctor's medical orders. Neither ICE nor the Department of Health and Human Services (which oversees the San Antonio facility where Rosa Maria was stuck for 10 days) has publicly addressed her release.

“Rosa Maria is finally free. We’re thrilled that she can go home to heal surrounded by her family's love and support,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, in a press statement. “Despite our relief, Border Patrol’s decision to target a young girl at a children’s hospital remains unconscionable. No child should go through this trauma and we are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Rosa Maria's future remains uncertain, since the Trump Administration hasn't said if it'll drop her deportation charges or deport her entire family.

"Moving forward, we must address the Trump Administration’s callous actions," said Congressman Joaquin Castro in a Friday statement. "I urge the Department of Homeland Security to abide by its claims that dangerous criminals are the agency’s priority."

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