An undocumented woman suffering from a brain tumor was reportedly removed from a Texas hospital against her will and taken to a detention center, one of her lawyers said Wednesday.
Sara Beltran-Hernandez migrated from El Salvador without proper documentation and has been trying to obtain asylum for the past 13 months, paralegal Melissa Zuniga said. After complaining about severe headaches, the 26-year-old woman collapsed at a detention center in Arlington earlier this month and was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Beltran-Hernandez’ condition was not immediately known, but Zuniga told The Hill that her client was forcibly removed from the Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth on Wednesday evening.
“She told us they tied her hands and ankles in her condition,” Zuniga told the news site. “She’s complaining of a lot of pain.”
Doctors determined on Saturday that Beltran-Hernandez needed surgery, Zuniga said. It was not immediately clear whether she had underwent surgery before her removal.
Zuniga said Beltran-Hernandez had recently been complaining about severe nosebleeds and memory-loss, both of which are common symptoms of brain tumors. Doctors at Huguley have apparently not attended to Beltran-Hernandez’ needs, and family members intend to sue the hospital, according to Zuniga.
“Huguley no longer wants to be in charge of her case because they’re getting hounded by calls and a potential lawsuit,” Zuniga said.
Hernandez was listed as being “in custody” at the Prairieland Detention Center as of early Thursday, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
ICE officials did not immediately return a request for comment on Beltran-Hernandez’ status, but issued a generic statement on Tuesday urging relatives seeking to visit her to obtain approval beforehand.
“ICE reached out to the family to explain the process,” an ICE spokeswoman said.
But Zuniga claimed Beltran-Hernandez had been cut off from communicating with family members, even though her mother was cleared by officials for unlimited phone calls earlier this week.
The relatives — who reside in New Jersey — were flying to Texas together with main attorney Marcia Kasdan on Wednesday night to demand Hernandez’ release, Zuniga said.
A number of recent ICE cases have drawn national attention — and ire — in light of the Trump administration’s pledge to crack down on illegal immigration. Pro-immigrant organizations charge that deportation orders have been more aggressively pursued since Trump became President.
On Tuesday, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly laid out a plan meant to widely expand the perimeters for who may be targeted for deportation.
The Obama administration primarily focused on deporting undocumented immigrants convicted of violent offenses, but the new order targets anyone that has been convicted of any criminal offense or received any type of government assistance. The order also gives immigration officials broad authority to deport anyone they deem “a risk to public safety or national security.”
With News Wire Services