U.S. Border Patrol agents are under fire for detaining a foreign child who is illegally in Texas. That child, Rosa Maria Hernandez, was brought into the U.S. by her parents who are also living in the U.S. illegally. The child is now in custody and media and politicians are upset at the agents for following the laws enacted by Congress. The agents feel their parent agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has not done enough to address the issue–leaving the agents alone under fire and allowing misconceptions to flourish in media reports.
The child was taken through a Border Patrol checkpoint en route to receive medical care. Border Patrol agents followed the laws and procedure on the matter. They allowed the child to receive the needed medical care and then took the child into custody, as her parents were not with her.
Breitbart Texas exclusively obtained an open letter to CBP and the public on the matter from the Border Patrol agents and we publish the text of that letter in full:
The incident with 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez is resulting in verbal attacks against Border Patrol agents and the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) calls upon Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to clarify the facts surrounding the issue to the public.
On October 24, 2017, at approximately 3:30 a.m. Rosa Maria Hernandez (10 yrs. old) and her adult cousin, were on their way to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Rosa Maria and her cousin were traveling from Laredo, Texas, in a four-door sedan via Highway 59. The four-door sedan Rosa Maria and her cousin were traveling in was a non-ambulance/contracted private medical transport. Rosa Maria was traveling to Driscoll Children’s Hospital for a scheduled gallbladder surgery.
All vehicles traveling northbound on Highway 59 are required to stop at the Freer Border Patrol checkpoint for an immigration inspection of all occupants. The Freer Border Patrol checkpoint is located approximately 43 miles east of Laredo, Texas.
Once at the Freer Border Patrol checkpoint, an immigration inspection was conducted on Rosa Maria, her cousin, and the contracted driver of the four-door sedan — as is policy for all occupants of vehicles traveling through the checkpoint. During the immigration inspection, it was determined that Rosa Maria was a citizen of Mexico and was illegally in the country. Rosa Maria was not traveling with her legal guardian and was determined to be an unaccompanied minor, as parents or guardians were not with her. In cases involving unaccompanied minors, Border Patrol agents are required by law to take steps to safeguard the welfare of the children they encounter while performing their official duties. This largely stems from the high incidence of human trafficking associated with unaccompanied minors and the porous U.S.-Mexico border.
Border Patrol agents conducting the immigration inspection on the occupants of the four-door sedan were notified that Rosa Maria had a 6:30 am appointment for gallbladder surgery in Corpus Christi, Texas. At no time were Border Patrol agents notified that Rosa Maria had cerebral palsy. After being delayed for approximately 15 minutes at the Freer Border Patrol Checkpoint, the four-door sedan with Rosa Maria, her cousin, and the contracted driver were escorted to Corpus Christi, Texas, by Border Patrol agents so that the unaccompanied minor could receive needed healthcare. Rosa Maria arrived at Driscoll Children’s Hospital with sufficient time for hospital staff to perform the scheduled gallbladder surgery.
In order to ensure Rosa Maria’s well-being, she was referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as required by law.
Misconceptions about this matter have thrived in a media environment that too often engages in knee-jerk criticisms and attacks on law enforcement personnel. The Border Patrol’s parent agency, CBP, could offer clarification on the facts instead of sitting silently as Border Patrol agents are criticized for the very false perceptions that CBP silence has allowed to grow.
Border Patrol agents performed their duties professionally and followed the laws that U.S. Congress passed and leaves in place. The NBPC calls not only on CBP to publicly clarify the facts around the issue, but also upon others in society to direct their frustrations toward the actual lawmakers in Congress for laws that upset them — not toward the law enforcement personnel who follow and enforce the laws.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at [email protected]
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously.)