Family overjoyed to be reunited with daughter at center of immigration battle

Rosa Maria Hernandez, a child with cerebral palsy, detained last week

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LAREDO, Texas – A family is overjoyed to be together again after their 10-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy was detained last week by Border Patrol agents after an emergency gallbladder surgery.

Rosa Maria Hernandez appeared at a news conference Saturday with her parents in Laredo. She was released back to her family Friday.

Rosa Maria has lived in the U.S. for 10 years after reportedly crossing the border at just 3 months old, but where she will continue her life still remains to be seen.

READ MORE: Rep. Joaquin Castro: Convicted murderers get to visit family more than ill 10-year-old did

The child’s cousin was with her in an ambulance from Laredo to a hospital in Corpus Christi for surgery when Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint became aware Rosa Maria was not in the country legally.

Agents escorted Rosa Maria to the hospital, and following her surgery, they detained her in San Antonio.

Following public pressure and intervention by the office of U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Rosa Maria was released Friday. But the family’s attorney said her deportation process has not ended. He said it is just starting.

Rosa Maria’s parents hope they will be able to stay.

“She's lived here all of her life. She grew up here with her sisters. We enjoy living in the United States, and we hope to fix this so that we can live here legally,” said Cesar Hernandez, Rosa Maria’s father.

“She doesn't want to go back to Mexico, and she says she always wants us to be together and she doesn't want to be separated,” said Felipa de la Cruz, Rosa Maria’s mother.

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The family’s attorney said the father was already in deportation proceeding separate from the incident. They hope to get some relief for Rosa Maria's mother. 

Rosa Maria’s family won’t need to worry about her being detained again. Now that she is in the system, she won’t be picked up.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.