Woman with brain tumour 'removed from Texas hospital and returned to immigration detention centre'

The 26-year-old's lawyer says situation has been a 'nightmare' for relatives

Katie Forster@katieforster
Thursday 23 February 2017 23:33
A US border patrol vehicle near the Mexican border
A US border patrol vehicle near the Mexican border

A woman with a brain tumour was forced to leave a hospital in Texas by immigration officers and returned to a detention centre, her lawyers have said.

The 26-year-old from El Salvador, known as Sara, was reportedly in custody because she did not have the right to be in the US when she was diagnosed with cancer.

Melissa Zuniga, one of the woman’s lawyers, told The Hill the officers had tied up Sara’s hands and ankles as they removed her from the hospital against her will.

“She's complaining of a lot of pain,” said Ms Zuniga, adding that the woman had been prevented from communicating with her family and lawyers.

Sara began complaining of severe headaches while she was being held at the Prairieland Detention Center, near Dallas in Texas, where she is said to have collapsed on 10 February.

She was taken to Texas Health Huguley Hospital, where doctors were preparing to operate – but according to New York Daily News, she was discharged last night before surgery could take place.

Ms Zuniga said the situation had been a “nightmare” for the woman’s relatives, who have been frantically calling officials because they are afraid for her life.

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A spokesperson for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the newspaper it “takes seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care.“

“Like all detainees in our care, [Sara] will continue to have access to 24 hour emergency medical care and to any required specialized treatment at an outside facility,” said the spokesperson in a statement.

Sara’s court testimony states she entered the US illegally in November 2015 and was arrested soon afterwards by border patrol agents, according to The Daily Beast.

A judge ordered her deportation after she missed a deadline to file an asylum claim, a decision which has been appealed by her lawyers.

The US Department of Homeland Security has released new guidelines regarding Donald Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration.

The President has said he will build a wall at the border between Mexico and the US and said he plans to deport two to three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

But John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, said there will be “no mass deportations” when the new rules are introduced.

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