An undocumented immigrant diagnosed with a brain tumor while in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody was returned to a detention center from a Texas hospital, her lawyers said.
The woman, a Salvadoran national identified only as Sara, was released from Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, and taken to Prairieland Detention Center against her will, according to her lawyers.
"She told us they tied her hands and ankles in her condition," Melissa Zuniga, a member of Sara's legal team, told The Hill. "She's complaining of a lot of pain."
Zuniga said Sara, 26, was cut off from communication with her family and lawyers, even after the hospital and ICE had cleared Sara's mother for unrestricted phone access.
"Requests by family members to visit detainees who have been hospitalized are permitted but must be approved in advance with ICE and the appropriate consulate. ICE reached out to the family to explain the process," said Gillian Christensen, an ICE spokeswoman.
Zuniga also said the Salvadoran consulate had been unresponsive and a team of volunteers was heading to the detention center to demand Sara's immediate release.
Sara's exact condition wasn't immediately available, but according to previous reports she was transferred from Prairieland to Huguley after complaining of severe headaches and collapsing on Feb. 10.
Doctors at the hospital diagnosed Sara with a tumor and told the Daily Beast they would soon perform surgery.
Zuniga said Sara complained of profuse nosebleeds and of long-term memory loss, while not receiving treatment at the hospital.
"Huguley no longer wants to be in charge of her case because they’re getting hounded by calls and a potential lawsuit," said Zuniga.
Sara's family is threatening to sue the hospital because they claim her condition deteriorated in the 12 days she spent there.
Sara's sister and legal team, all based in New Jersey, were flying to Texas Wednesday night to make the case for her release.
Sara told Zuniga she was given a CD with her medical records at the hospital and instructed by doctors not to turn them over to ICE. The CD was taken from Sara upon her return to the detention center, Zuniga said.
In the first month of the Trump administration, several cases of immigration detention have drawn national attention, as pro-immigration activists decry what they consider heavy-handed tactics by immigration enforcement agents.
This week the Trump administration laid out a plan to step up deportations, broadly expanding those targeted for deportation.