On May 24, Oscar and Irma Sanchez learned from doctors that the only way to cure their baby’s pyloric stenosis was to visit a hospital on the other side of a Border Control checkpoint, but they didn’t even get that far.
NPR reports that Border Control, likely tipped off by a nurse, showed up at the Harlingen, Texas hospital the Sanchezes were in before they even left the building. Oscar and Irma were mulling over their options, as their two-month-old son Isaac needed treatment from Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. Pyloric stenosis, a disease that can cause nausea, dehydration and weight loss in infants, requires a skilled surgical team to treat, thus necessitating the specialists at Corpus Christi.
Border Control agents then entered, and offered to give them an escort to the hospital if they allowed themselves to be fingerprinted and booked the next morning. The Sanchezes agreed, and spent the next 48 hours—while they took their baby to have surgery—under constant surveillance.
This kind of rigorous surveillance used to be reserved for those suspected of criminal or drug activity. The Sanchezes are suspected of neither: they are a hardworking couple with four children, known and respected in their community. But this is the kind of heinous, ghoulish treatment immigrants receive under the Trump administration. Hospitals used to be considered safe zones, but Border Control seems to think they shouldn’t be. NPR quotes José Serrano:
“They’re pushing the envelope to the point where they’re trying to find out how far they can go,” says Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano, one of the bill’s authors. He is outraged by what happened to the Sanchez family in South Texas. “It violates human decency,” he says. “You don’t interrupt medical procedures.”
Months later, Isaac’s condition is now stable, and since he is a United States citizen, his treatment was covered by Medicaid. The fate of his parents is far less clear.