This article is over 4 years old


ACLU Says Authorities Didn’t Follow Due Process With Rosa María Hernández’s Detention

The organization also contends the 10 year-old undocumented immigrant should not have been sent to a shelter managed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement

Rosa María Hernández, an undocumented 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, was taken into custody by federal agents after emergency surgery at a Texas hospital.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) contends in a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday in San Antonio that federal authorities didn't follow due process during the detention of Rosa María Hernández, according to a senior staff attorney with the Texas chapter of the organization.

Hernández is a 10 year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Immigration authorities detained her last week, while Hernandez was travelling to Corpus Christi to undergo emergency gallbladder surgery.

Hernández was taken into custody after the surgery and she is now staying at a shelter managed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, and is facing deportation.

ACLU’s Edgar Saldivar told Houston Public Media the detention violates both Rosa María’s and her mother’s “fundamental right to liberty and family integrity under the due process clause of the Fifth amendment [of the United States Constitution].”

Another main argument of the ACLU's lawsuit, according to Saldivar, is that Hernández has never been unaccompanied and, therefore, she should have never been sent to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

“She has never been without the custody of her mother, she was travelling actually with her adult cousin at all times and, so, for authorities to take her under custody as an unaccompanied child is wrong, and to remove her the custody of her parents, the lawful custody she’s always been in since she was born, is a violation of different laws and that’s what we are asserting,” Saldivar noted, while adding that Hernández’s cousin is a U.S. citizen.

The ACLU attorney added that his organization thinks Hernández's detention can have violated the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

The ACLU will ask the Court for a hearing “as soon as possible.”

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required