In the midst of DACA discussions and immigration restrictions, we come face to face with the sad debate on whether a human life can be legal or not. This heartbreaking story from NPR is no different.
When Oscar and Irma Sanchez of Texas were informed of their two-month-old son Isaac’s diagnosis, they were relieved to find out that their child’s illness was curable. However, the trouble came when they were met with a detrimental caveat. In order to treat Isaac’s pyloric stenosis—a condition that causes vomiting, dehydration and weight loss in infants—they had to travel from their hospital in Rio Grande to Corpus Christi.
The undocumented couple would have to travel and pass a Border Patrol checkpoint. When Oscar told the nurse they couldn’t go, a Border Patrol agent showed up in the waiting room, saying he could arrange for officers to escort them through the checkpoint. However, when they arrived, they were arrested and put into deportation proceedings. Border Patrol followed the ambulance as it went to the hospital in Corpus Christi with the Sanchez family in tow.
Even in the hospital, the agents followed the family everywhere. According to Customs and Border Protection, they are required to monitor subjects in custody “at all times” and tried to do so with the Sanchez family “in the least restrictive manner possible.” The next morning, both Oscar and Irma were taken from the hospital to the Border Patrol station to be fingerprinted and booked. Both parents were eventually allowed to return and the operation was covered by Medicaid due to Isaac’s U.S. citizenship status.
“CBP was notified by the Harlingen hospital that there was a child with undocumented parents in need of urgent medical care and that the family would have to go through a checkpoint to the Corpus Christi hospital,” Manny Padilla, chief of the Rio Grande Valley sector of Border Patrol, said. “To get the child to the care it urgently needed, Border Patrol agents did everything in their power to assist the family, including escorting the ambulance, unimpeded, through the checkpoint.”
Thankfully, three and a half months after the operation, Isaac is home safe and healthy with both of his parents and three older siblings in North Brownsville, Tex. But advocates are still confused as to why the Sanchez family was placed under such hawk-eyed supervision. Lisa Koop, a lawyer with the National Immigration Justice Center, will be asking an immigration judge in December to let the Oscar and Irma remain with their children in the U.S.