State Watch

Border Patrol arrests undocumented Texas teen who went to hospital for gallbladder surgery


Border Patrol arrested a 15-year-old undocumented girl after she was submitted to the hospital for emergency gallbladder surgery in Texas. 

The girl, who has lived in the U.S. since she was an infant, was taken to an Edinburg, Texas hospital with her aunt because of pain caused by a gallbladder stone, according to the immigrant rights group RAICES, which is representing her and her family. 

Border Patrol agents arrested her aunt, who is also undocumented, at the hospital and the girl was taken to another hospital in San Antonio to undergo surgery. She tested positive for COVID-19 while hospitalized. 

Those traveling from the Texas border city of Edinburg to San Antonio must pass through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoints. CBP operates dozens of these checkpoints, where travelers are asked to show proof of their citizenship or residency and have their vehicles inspected.

CBP gave the girl temporary documents to travel past the checkpoint, the agency told The Hill.

After surgery she was taken into Border Patrol custody and then transferred to the Officer of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody where she is currently detained. Minors in ORR custody are typically unaccompanied asylum seekers who are held there until a relative or guardian can take custody of them. 

“It’s a reiteration of family separation,” Sarah Valdes, a lawyer for RAICES told CBS News. “She’s only unaccompanied because they showed up at the hospital and they arrested her adult family member.”

— Updated at 5:13 p.m.

Tags Illegal immigration to the United States Immigration policy of Donald Trump Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services United States Department of Homeland Security

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