ICE Clarifies It Never Arrests 10-Year-Olds At Hospitals, Except For Sometimes

Rosa Maria Hernandez: Clearly a national security threat. Or at least an 'exigent circumstance.'

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is very much aware it looks a little bad that its agents arrested an undocumented 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy the moment she was released from a hospital after emergency gallbladder surgery. So ICE went on the Twitters late last week to clarify that the agency actually does not make arrests at schools, hospitals, or churches, no they do not, stop lying!

See? It simply isn't their policy, generally. And they even send you to a helpful website where the "sensitive locations" policy is explained (or the "Senstive Locations" policy, since apparently ICE has Doktor Zoom typing up their website). Just look how generous they are about the places where ICE won't carry out an enforcement action! (To save space, we've cropped out a couple items here)

The FAQ is also very careful to explain, again and again, that a courthouse is not a sensitive location, so no complaining about women getting arrested after seeking a protection order from a domestic abuser. But are there exceptions to that policy against making arrests at hospitals? By gosh, law enforcement needs to have flexibility to save America from criminal aliens, so you bet there are!

Hmmm. We're not sure Rosa Maria Hernandez -- who has the mental abilities of a 4- or 5- year old -- actually had any relation to "national security, terrorism, or public safety, or where there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to an ongoing criminal case," although we can't say with absolute certainty that her ailing gallbladder wasn't an ISIS operative. So as we read these guidelines, it sure looks like ICE violated its own rules, huh?

Haha, the joke's on anyone who believes those are actually "rules"! Didn't you see that line about how enforcement actions at sensitive locations "will generally be avoided"? That right there is a loophole big enough to drive an ambulance with a desperately ill 10-year-old through!

And in the case of Rosa Maria Hernandez, ICE weaseling goes even farther, as the New York Times reports: Sure, Rosa Maria may have been taken into custody when she left Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, but that's not relevant to the policy, no, not at all, according to a spokesperson from Customs and Border Protection, which runs the Border Patrol. The actual "enforcement action" began when the ambulance carrying Rosa Maria reached a CPB checkpoint near Corpus Christi, so taking her off to a detention center when she got out of the recovery room was perfectly cromulent. How's that for a Sensitive Locution? Besides, there were other "exigent circumstances," too:

When Rosa Maria's ambulance was stopped, her cousin acknowledged to the Border Patrol that the girl was undocumented. The agents who followed the ambulance were legally obligated to do so because she was traveling without a parent or a legal guardian, raising concerns about human trafficking, the spokesman said.

You know how it is with those human traffickers and how they kidnap children with severe disabilities then send them along with a relative to a hospital for gallbladder surgery. Why, that's almost exactly like the human trafficking plot line in Season 2 of The Wire, apart from being nothing like it.

This is actually at least the second case where a medical emergency has given ICE an opportunity to deport dangerous criminal children and their families. In May, a hospital in Harlingen, Texas, ratted out Irma and Oscar Sanchez, the undocumented parents of a two-month-old patient, an American citizen. The hospital told the Border Patrol the baby needed urgent treatment in Corpus Christi, then agents met the family at the hospital and offered them a hell of a deal: They'd escort the family to the hospital in Corpus Christi, right through the checkpoint, but the Sanchezes would have to agree to be arrested and put in deportation proceedings. So while the baby was in surgery, the parents were taken one at a time to be booked. Wasn't that thoughtful of the nice agents, to let one parent stay with the sick baby? The Sanchez family isn't in detention, but now they're fighting the deportation order, according to their lawyer, Lisa Koop.

And now that process has started for Rosa Maria Hernandez, and presumably her family once she's eventually released to her parents -- the family's attorney told the Times that could take weeks. And if you'd like to do something a bit more concrete than using the #FreeRosa hashtag on Twitter, the ACLU has set up a website to connect people with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which administers the detention center where Rosa Maria is being held -- go to the site, enter a phone number where the ACLU can connect with you, and follow the script they propose:

I’m calling to ask you to release Rosa Maria Hernandez back to the care of her family today. This 10-year-old elementary-school student needs to be recovering from surgery at home with her family, not jailed in a detention center. What the government is doing is outrageous and cruel.

Please, for Rosa Maria's sake, try to refrain from adding "You duplicitous, un-American, fascist motherfuckers." You're encouraged to think it quite loudly, though.

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[ICE on Twitter / ICE Sensitive Locations FAQ / NYT / ACLU]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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