COMMENTARY: Emily, a 12-year-old U.S. citizen who is suffering from a disease that causes her immune system to attack her joints and internal organs, has been needlessly separated from her mother for two years. But this is not a problem without a solution. Join us in asking Hector Mancha, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) El Paso director of field operations, to reunite Rosa Mani with her daughter.
On Sept. 2, Rosa was deported to Ciudad Juárez in the middle of the night by Border Patrol agents — despite a binational agreement not to engage in this dangerous and inhumane practice, and despite a pending stay of removal.
On Oct. 28, Rosa petitioned for a humanitarian parole at a port of entry in El Paso, Texas. Despite presenting extensive documentation of her daughter’s medical condition and related mental health challenges, and after waiting more than four hours for a response, CBP agents at the bridge said to Rosa, simply, “no.”
When advocates asked for details about Rosa’s case and the reasons for their response, agents could not answer. Rosa was requesting humanitarian parole, but agents did not review the humanitarian piece of her case and did not know Emily’s condition or the severity of her illness.
We want to see the leadership at CPB resolve Rosa’s case in a commonsense, humane way. This is completely within their power and authority.
Emily was diagnosed with systemic juvenile onset arthritis, a condition that causes her immune system to attack her joints and internal organs, as well as related conditions including severe depression with suicidal ideation, epilepsy, osteoporosis, scoliosis, and vertebral fractures. The treatment Emily desperately needs is not available in Mexico; while Emily has been in the United States for the past two years, she has been unable to see Rosa. This sick child needs the love, comfort, and help of her mother.
We have attempted to work with both ICE and CPB to reassess Rosa’s case on a humanitarian basis but have not gotten far. Rosa has now tried, on four separate occasions, to obtain lawful permission to be with her daughter. Rosa has been denied at every turn.
Due to her prior removals, Rosa has been deemed “inadmissible” to the United States. Each removal was an outcome of Rosa’s attempts to be with her daughter, who needs her mother at this crucial and painful time, after exhausting every other legal avenue.
Rosa is a woman of faith and woman of her word who will comply with any and all conditions immigration agencies see fit to require of her. Rosa and her family continue to fight our immigration system, a system that is far from protecting the United States or prioritizing our communities and, instead, tears families apart while criminalizing some of the most vulnerable in our communities. We are asking that CBP does what is right.
Hear Rosa’s simple request — to provide her daughter with a mother’s love and care — in her own words here.
Together, let’s do this for Rosa — and the thousands of mothers and fathers like her who have been torn away from their children by our broken immigration system.
On the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 6, we will gather near the border in the First Amendment Area in the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso to ask Hector Mancha, the port director’s supervisor, to grant humanitarian parole. Then we will walk together over the Las Americas bridge to Juárez to meet with Rosa. Join hands with us for change for Rosa and millions more! We shall overcome! Sign our petition here.
Roberto Reed is the lead pastor at Sonoma Springs Covenant Church in Las Cruces.