While undocumented immigrants Oscar and Irma Sanchez were waiting for their two-month-old son to go into a serious surgery, they were arrested.
Back in May, the couple ran into Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials while they were seeking treatment for their son who was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis. It is a condition that causes vomiting, dehydration and weight loss in infants. However, there were no hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley area that could perform the surgery, where the couple lives. They were told that they had to go to a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi, TX, which would force them to go through a Border Patrol checkpoint.
They told their healthcare provider they were not able to get there because of the checkpoint. However, while they were trying to figure out what to do, a Border Patrol agent showed up. Oscar suspects that a nurse called them. The agent told the couple they could escort them to the hospital in Corpus Christi so their son could get the surgery. But were told they would be arrested once they arrived in Corpus Christi, to which the couple agreed to.
For the next two days, they were under constant surveillance by Border Patrol agents. Sanchez revealed they never left their sides, Irma was even asked to keep the door open while she was breastfeeding her infant.
“Everywhere we went in the hospital,” Oscar said, “they followed us.”
“We didn’t know if they were going to let us stay with our son or not. You feel vulnerable,” Sanchez also stated.
According to Customs and Border Protection, they are required to monitor their subjects that are in custody “at all times” and asserted they tried to do so “in the least restrictive manner possible” at the hospital.
Advocates were upset with how the Border Patrol treated the Sanchez family. They say that the supervision the family was subjected to is usually for higher value targets like violent gang members or drug traffickers. Neither Oscar nor Irma have a criminal record. Oscar works construction and landscaping, Irma is a stay at home mom of 4 children.
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