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Undocumented family arrested awaiting infant surgery in hospital

For undocumented immigrants, the number of places that are safe spaces in America is growing smaller. During the Obama administration, law enforcement abided by policies that kept them from arresting undocumented individuals in certain locations deemed sensitive locations, such as churches, hospitals, and schools, unless special circumstances justified doing so.

As the Trump administration changes the focus of immigration enforcement, these sensitive locations are no longer the safe havens they were for last several years.

Recently, an undocumented family was arrested while awaiting a potentially life-saving surgery for their infant child. When they went to the hospital near their home in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas, the attending physicians told them that a surgery could treat their child's condition, but that the nearest facility equipped to perform it was several hours away in Corpus Christi.

This presented the family with a dilemma. Traveling to Corpus Christi meant crossing through a border patrol checkpoint. While they debated how to proceed, a border patrol agent arrived at the hospital and offered to escort the family to the hospital in Corpus Christi. The agent told them that when they arrived, they would be arrested and detained.

Left between a rock and a hard place, the family chose to take the offer and traveled to Corpus Christi, where they were arrested. The state began deportation proceedings. It is worth noting that the surgery on their infant was successful.

This tragic story demonstrates quite clearly that undocumented individuals, especially those living in contentious areas like Texas or Georgia, must be very careful how they live their lives. If you worry about using basic services like public hospitals because of your immigration status, please speak with an immigration attorney who can help you understand your rights and how to protect them.

Source: NPR.org, "Border Patrol Arrests Parents While Infant Awaits Serious Operation," John Burnett, Sep. 20, 2017

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