The Way This Ill, Undocumented Woman Was Treated Is Not OK

Photo: Marlon Correa/The Washington Post/Getty Images.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been cracking down on undocumented immigrants for the past few weeks, but now one specific case is making headlines — and it will make your blood boil.

A 26-year-old undocumented woman who was diagnosed with a brain tumor while being held by ICE officials at a Texas detention center was removed from the hospital and returned to ICE's custody, The Hill reports.

The woman, identified only as Sara, is originally from El Salvador. Her legal team told The Hill that she was being held at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado, Texas, when she began experiencing severe headaches earlier this month.

Then, on February 10, she collapsed. She was taken to the Texas Health Huguley Hospital in Burleson, Texas. There, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The Daily Beast, which originally covered the case, reported that doctors expected to perform surgery on Sara. But, according to Sara's lawyers, before that could happen, she was forcibly removed from the hospital and returned to the detention center.

"Huguley no longer wants to be in charge of her case because they’re getting hounded by calls and a potential lawsuit," one of Sara's lawyers, Melissa Zuniga, told The Hill.

"She told us they tied her hands and ankles in her condition," Zuniga said. "She's complaining of a lot of pain."

According to The Daily Beast, Sara arrived in the U.S. in late 2015. She was allegedly seeking asylum, but was arrested upon entering the country.

In a statement to an immigration judge, she said that she feared her life would be at risk if she returned to El Salvador because of some gang-affiliated family members. However, Sara missed the deadline to file her asylum request and wound up in the Prairieland detention facility.

Once she became ill and was transferred to the hospital, she wasn't permitted to communicate with or be visited by her family members.

"Requests by family members to visit detainees who have been hospitalized are permitted but must be approved in advance with ICE and the appropriate consulate," spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement provided to The Hill. "ICE reached out to the family to explain the process."
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