An ICE "sensitive locations" directive says federal agents shouldn't try to enforce the law at such locations except under "exigent circumstances." But the family of Rosamaria Hernandez, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who had gallbladder surgery at a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, says ICE agents stalked her at the hospital, then took her to a San Antonio detention center for migrant kids—all while her parents, also illegal immigrants, are at their home in Laredo 150 miles away. Arresting a minor already living in the US, especially one with a medical issue, is a move the New York Times is calling "rare, if not unheard-of." It's also one that's prompted Rep. Joaquin Castro to issue a challenge to President Trump and Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security. "Show that this enforcement operation is prioritizing a dangerous criminal," Castro says in a statement.
This all started when Rosamaria—brought to the US from Mexico as an infant by her parents, who hoped to get better treatment for her cerebral palsy—was rushed by ambulance from a Laredo medical center to Driscoll Children's Hospital for the emergency procedure. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times notes Rosamaria was with her cousin, a US citizen. The trip Tuesday meant the ambulance passed a Border Patrol checkpoint, and while agents let the ambulance go, they followed it, her family says. ICE agents hovered outside Rosamaria's room until she was released, then took her to the San Antonio detention center, Leticia Hernandez, an attorney for the family, tells Newsweek. Now, while Rosamaria's family and lawyers vie for her release from the center, only US citizens can visit her, per Newsweek. "The only thing this child wants is her mom," Hernandez says.