The American Civil Liberties Union announced Tuesday it is suing the Trump administration, seeking the immediate release of an undocumented 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who is currently in federal custody in Texas.

The organization filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, asking federal immigration authorities to end the detention of Rosa Maria Hernandez, who was placed in an immigration facility last week after undergoing gallbladder surgery.

“It is unconscionable to target a little girl in a children’s hospital,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, in a news release issued after the filing.

According to the lawsuit, Hernandez, who has lived with her family in Laredo since she was 3 months old, was being driven to a Corpus Christi hospital Oct. 24 for the surgery when Border Patrol agents stopped the car she was in at a checkpoint in Freer. Agents escorted her to the hospital and, after the surgery, told her family she would go through deportation proceedings.

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Hernandez was then separated from her family and placed under custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which keeps undocumented immigrant minors in custody after they are caught by immigration authorities. She is currently at a shelter in San Antonio, more than 150 miles away from her home. 

Over the past month, the ACLU battled the Trump administration in several courts on behalf of a 17-year-old undocumented girl who was seeking an abortion. Weeks after requesting the procedure, Jane Doe, as she was known in court filings, was able to terminate her pregnancy on Oct. 25 after a favorable ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. 

Both lawsuits have three defendants in common: Scott Lloyd, head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement; Stephen Wagner, acting assistant secretary at the Administration for Children and Families, which oversees ORR; and Eric Hargan, the acting secretary at the Health and Human Services, the federal agency that includes both offices.

The complaint over Hernandez also targets other officials in those and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • An undocumented teenager under federal custody in Texas got an abortion she had been seeking for weeks, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. "This is my life, my decision," the teen said in a statement after the procedure. [Full story]

  • U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, along with immigrant rights and civil liberty groups, is calling for the federal government to release an undocumented 10-year-old girl who was placed in an immigration facility following surgery. [Full story]

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection will test border wall prototypes over the next two months, the agency said. Completion of the prototypes signals the Trump administration is making progress on one of the president's campaign promises. [Full story]

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