October 31, 2017
NATIONAL LATINO LEADERS CONDEMN DETENTION OF ROSA MARIA HERNANDEZ, 10-YEAR-OLD DREAMER WITH CEREBRAL PALSY
Urges Federal Government to Release Her Immediately and Administratively Close Her Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, urges the Department of Health and Human Services and Office of Refugee Resettlement to process and release Rosa Maria Hernandez immediately so that she can be reunited with her family. Hernandez, a 10-year-old Dreamer with cerebral palsy, was detained after an emergency gallbladder surgery, from the hospital as she recovered. NHLA calls on the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to administratively close her case, dropping the deportation proceedings against her.
Hernandez was stopped in an ambulance traveling through a checkpoint to the hospital, after which Customs and Border Patrol officers followed her and guarded her until her discharge, when she was taken into federal custody. NHLA condemns the use of federal resources to detain and deport a young girl in need of urgent care and medical assistance, and calls on the DHS to change its policy with respect to targeting for removal individuals seeking medical care.
“The detention of Rosa Maria Hernandez is the pinnacle of executing inhumane and unjust immigration policy. As this 10-year old girl recovers from intense surgery, she is separated from her family and unable to receive the support and care a young person needs in these circumstances. Furthermore, it is impossible to sustain the argument that such policies are in place to maintain national security, as she is just trying to survive. Promises of her release in the future provide Rosa Maria no immediate relief and are not satisfactory. We urge the federal government to release Rosa Maria to her family’s care now,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, Chair of NHLA and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.
“Anyone who thinks a ten-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and in need of emergency surgery is a security threat is mentally unfit for any position of responsibility. The White House and Congress should condemn this enforcement action immediately and act to ensure that no similar idiotic activity is undertaken in the future. Rosa Maria Hernandez should be released forthwith to her loving family if our nation truly believes in family value and simple, basic humanity,” said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA vice chair and MALDEF president and general counsel.
“We are asking that DHS allow this child to get the medical care that she requires, detention should never take priority over someone’s life!” said Jose Calderon, Co-Chair of NHLA’s Immigration Committee and President of Hispanic Federation. “Clearly, if the Customs and Border Patrol has enough agents available to sit around at a hospital while a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy is getting an operation, they don’t need more funding for agents. Our government has lost its moral core, if it deems keeping a sick 10-year-old girl away from the care of her family a worthy use of its time and resources.”
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ABOUT THE NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP AGENDA
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the leading national and regional Latino civil rights and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.
NHLA MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
Alianza Americas | American G.I. Forum | ASPIRA Association | Avance Inc. | Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Farmworker Justice | GreenLatinos | Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities | Hispanic Federation | Hispanic National Bar Association | Inter-University Program for Latino Research | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | LatinoJustice PRLDEF | League of United Latin American Citizens | MANA, A National Latina Organization | Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund | Mi Familia Vota | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures | National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives | National Association of Hispanic Publications | National Day Laborer Organizing Network | NALEO Educational Fund | National Association of Latino Independent Producers | National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. | National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators | National Hispanic Council on Aging | National Hispanic Environmental Council | National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National Hispanic Medical Association | National Institute for Latino Policy | National Latina/o Psychological Association | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health | Presente.org | SER Jobs for Progress National | Southwest Voter Registration Education Project | UnidosUS | United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce | United States Hispanic Leadership Institute | United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce | U.S.- Mexico Foundation | Voto Latino