ACLU Suing Federal Government for Abuse of 10-Year-Old Child
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Unwanted, disadvantaged and undocumented immigrants, largely people of color and Muslims, face an out-of-control epidemic of abusive government practices – one of many ways how rogue state America operates, brutalizing people at home and abroad, ignoring their rights and welfare.
Ten-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez is undocumented. She suffers from cerebral palsy. The Mayo Clinic calls it “a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth.”
It “causes impaired movement associated with abnormal reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, or some combination of these.”
It’s a tough affliction for anyone to endure. Rosa Maria underwent gallbladder surgery. She needs care from her doctor and family.
Instead, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an HHS agency, detained and targeted her for deportation despite her condition, ignoring her doctor’s advice.
Calling what happened “an egregious case of government overreach,” the ACLU is suing the federal government on her behalf.
On October 24, she was taken by her adult cousin in a medical transport vehicle to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, 150 miles from Laredo, TX, home of her parents and siblings.
Around 2:00AM, Customs and Border Protection agents stopped the vehicle, asked for everyone’s papers. Rosa Maria carried no ID.
The vehicle was allowed to proceed to the hospital for surgery, officers trailing it, saying when her operation was over, she’d be processed for deportation.
Officers stood guard while she was taken into the operating room. Once awake post-surgery, she was arrested, placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) as an “unaccompanied child.”
She’s abusively detained in a San Antonio facility, far from her family and doctors, ignoring her medical and psychological needs – maliciously cruel treatment on a helpless child, multiple violations of constitutional and US statute laws.
The ACLU explained the ORR “has no authority to detain her. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008…defines ‘unaccompanied’ children as children who don’t have a parent or guardian available to care for them in the United States.”
Rosa Maria has parents, siblings and relatives in Laredo, “devoted to her well-being,” able to help with her care, unavailable in detention awaiting deportation.
“The federal government is not authorized to knowingly and forcibly separate parents from a child when they are available to provide that child with care and physical custody,” the ACLU explained.
Border Patrol agents “made an illegal, warrantless arrest,” it stressed – the action only permitted against individuals “likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained for arrest,” according to the law – not applicable to Rosa Maria, escape post-surgery and disabled impossible.
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits what happened to her, depriving her of medically ordered care she needs, ignoring her doctor’s instructions, “act(ing) with deliberate indifference to” her condition, the ACLU stressed, adding:
“She has suffered and continues to suffer physical injury and emotional distress because of their actions.”
Her detention violates the so-called 1997 Flores (consent) decree, establishing “procedural protections for children to prevent arbitrary detention, one of which requires that minors are placed in the ‘least restrictive setting appropriate to the minor’s age and special needs…’ ”
“Rosa Maria and her family have due process rights and ORR is violating them (including) ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by’ the Supreme Court – ‘the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children.’ ”
Egregiously compounding all of the above is an order to deport Rosa Maria, regardless of her incapacity and delicate state, intending to separate her from loving parents at a critical time for her welfare.
Her cerebral palsy requires specialized care, best provided by family doctors and her parents, working with physicians to look after her properly.
“Every single day that she remains separated from her family, the nightmare continues,” the ACLU stressed.
Its Immigrants’ Rights Project attorney Michael Tan called her egregious treatment “unconscionable.”
Its Texas legal director Andre Segura said her abusive treatment is “unconstitutional (and) heartless.”
It’s how America operates, ignoring fundamental rights, abusing its power globally.
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