Rosa Maria Hernandez — the young undocumented immigrant with cerebral palsy recently detained by ICE — has been released to her family.
The Associated Press reported on Friday evening that Hernandez was released, according to statements from U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and the American Civil Liberties Union, which took on her family’s case. Hernandez’s release comes on the heels of an intense public pressure campaign largely coordinated on social media to compel ICE to let Rosa go.
Hernandez’s parents brought her to the United States when she was just three months old, hoping that she would have access to better healthcare as she was born with cerebral palsy. Last month, when Hernandez was being rushed from one hospital to another for gall bladder surgery, ICE agents followed Rosa and her adult cousin to a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, and insisted the door be kept open during the surgery, lest the sick 10-year-old attempt an escape. Following the surgery, Hernandez was detained and scheduled for deportation.
The #FreeRosa hashtag was used on Twitter to amplify the story to a worldwide audience and push the Department of Homeland Security to let her go. While Hernandez is now free and with her family, her doctors are still worried about her health, due to young cerebral palsy patients prone to experience acute pain following surgery, particularly during the 10 days she was detained without proper medical care.
“Even in a hospital setting, medical providers rely heavily on the parent to assess the child’s pain,” Pediatric Palliative Physician Dr. Rachel Vandermeer said. “When a parent is unavailable pain can be either over or undertreated which is equally harmful.”
Family members play an irreplaceable role in assessing pain for children with cerebral palsy. Rosa Maria has spent 10 days cut off from that support. #FreeRosa
Dr. Vandermeer, Pediatric Palliative Physician at UT Health San Antonio👇 pic.twitter.com/e1rvuqoX7M
— ACLU (@ACLU) November 3, 2017
President Donald Trump, who championed a harsher stance toward undocumented immigrants, has been mum about Rosa Hernandez since her detainment.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.