Border Patrol releases undocumented 10-year-old detained after surgery

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says the USA government has released a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was detained by border agents after surgery because she is in the US without legal permission.

"At the checkpoint outside the South Texas town of Freer, Border Patrol agents learned that the sick girl was not in the country legally".

Rosa Maria Hernandez and her parents had been living in Laredo, Texas - in the USA without permission - and the Border Patrol had taken her into custody as she was transported through a checkpoint on her way to a Corpus Christie hospital for surgery.

Congressman Joaquin Castro released the following statement after the news of her release. The ACLU sued the government on Rosa Maria's behalf on October 31, days after she and an adult cousin were followed by Border Patrol to a children's hospital. "No child should go through this trauma and we are working to make sure it doesn't happen again". Her detention was criticized by civil rights groups and some Democratic politicians who oppose the crackdown by Republican President Donald Trump on illegal immigration. He has vowed to build a wall along the Mexican border. I continue to call for Rosa Maria's case to be administratively closed.

Agents allowed the ambulance to continue to the hospital under police supervision and armed officers waited near her bedside and detained her when she awoke, family members told U.S. media. "This young girl and her loved ones have been through a traumatizing ordeal".

The girl was traveling to Driscoll Children's Hospital for the surgery with her 34-year-old cousin and USA citizen, Aurora Cantu, when Customs and Border Protection stopped her medical transport vehicle at a checkpoint in Freer, Texas.

Her mother, Felipa de la Cruz, 39, told the New York Times she had brought Rosa Maria to the USA seeking better treatment for her cerebral palsy - a neurological disorder that affects body movements.

Rosa Maria's release follows days of public pressure and an A.C.L.U. lawsuit.

"This is detrimental to a child in that capacity", said Leticia Gonzalez, an attorney for the Hernandez family.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which took over custody of Hernandez after she was detained by immigration officials, said in a statement it could not comment on individual cases, but that it treats each child "with the utmost care". "All I wanted was for her to get the surgery that she needed".

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