Rosa Maria Hernandez — photo courtesy of the Hernandez family via Think Progress.

This week’s column honestly makes me so mad I don’t even know what to do or where to start. It’s just awful, heartbreaking and in my opinion, absolutely unnecessary.

Last week, federal immigration agents detained a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy after she was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint enroute to the hospital, where she had emergency surgery. The girl, Rosa Maria Hernandez, was born in Mexico but has been living in Laredo, Texas, since she was three months old.

After her surgery, she was taken to a facility in San Antonio where children who arrive alone in the United States, usually from Central America, are sent. Both of her parents are alive and well and living in Texas. They are undocumented, however, and can’t reunite with their daughter for risk of deportation. A lawyer for the Hernandez family, Leticia Gonzalez, says it is unclear when the girl will be released or what will happen to her.

A lot can be said about the current administration’s harmful, backwards and inept policy decisions, but this one in particular hits home for me. As the sibling of someone with cerebral palsy, I simply cannot fathom the idea that a child with special needs would be forcefully separated from her family and caregivers and sent to a facility that, I would assume, is ill-equipped to care for a medically fragile girl. CNN reported that the girl’s 85-year-old grandfather, a legal U.S. resident, petitioned for custody but his request was denied.

I understand Customs and Border Patrol’s position, to a point — they are just following orders and current immigration law. But a 10-year-old girl with special needs, who, according to her family has the mental capacity of a child half her age, is not and should not be considered a threat to national security. In theory, anyway, there has got to be some thought and empathy on the part of the government, which, so far is clearly lacking.

Like everything in this administration and current political time, both in the United States and worldwide, I want to come up with solutions and ways to fix what is obviously broken. For this incident, however, I’m at a complete loss. I don’t know what to say or what to do or how to fix this. It was a struggle even to write this column because I’m just so…angry. I’m angry and I’m sad and I just do not understand why a medically fragile child, or any child for that matter, can be legally separated from their parents and made to wait for the courts to decide if they can stay in a country that they’ve spent most of their entire life in.

I’ll leave you with this to ponder. Stay informed, be kind to one another and I’ll see you right back here in two weeks.

-Sage Daugherty
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

 

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