An undocumented couple from Texas was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials while waiting for surgery of their 2-month-old son.
Although there were no hospitals in Rio Grande Valley that could perform the necessary surgery to treat their son's pyloric stenosis, a condition that causes vomiting and dehydration in infants, Oscar and Irma Sanchez would have to drive two hours to Corpus Christi where the surgery could be done. The problem? The couple was required to pass a Border Patrol checkpoint to get to the hospital. "The nurse told us we had to go there," Oscar told NPR. "We said we couldn't go."
While debating on whether to go the Driscoll Children's Hospital located in Corpus Christi, an ICE agent showed up in the waiting room and told the couple an agent would escort them to the checkpoint but once they arrived, they would be arrested. Oscar told NPR he believes the nurse reported them to law enforcement.
The uniformed officers never left the couple's side -- following the father to the bathroom and even asking the mother to breastfeed the baby with the door open. The following day, the agents took the couple to the border control station to get fingerprinted but were permitted to go back to the hospital. Oscar revealed he asked the doctor to delay the operation until both he and his wife could be in the waiting room. 'You feel vulnerable,' Oscar told NPR. 'We didn't know if they were going to let us stay with our son or not.
"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 the Border Patrol, told NPR in a statement. "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."