The following DACA field report comes from Carmen Cornejo of Dream Act Arizona:
Even though Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has provided relief for thousands of DREAMers across the nation apparently putting the fear of deportation away, advocates were reminded the fragility of this policy in States like Arizona with a new case post DACA.
Rocio Almanza, a DACA applicant married to an American citizen, got gravely sick 1 day shy of her biometric appointment and started to experience seizures. Rocio was taken to Banner Dessert Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona. A possible brain infection was diagnosed. She was in a medically induced coma for days and when she started to wake up, the hospital was pressuring her husband, Christian Solorio, into a medical deportation. The hospital suggested the cost of her rehabilitation by a skilled nursing facility was too much for the uninsured young couple and told Christian his only option was to send his wife during the weekend to Mexico.
Christian Solorio, who had started to fundraise on line to pay for the medical care of his wife, was desperately contacting friends and family and thanks to Ileana Merary Salinas got in touch with CADENA, an all volunteer organization member of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition.
We understood the need of a decisive action to prevent the deportation. Back in 2007 we sadly experienced the medical deportation and subsequent dead of Joe Arvizu. Read the story here. He slipped away in front of our eyes back in the days where we were confused about what to do to confront Arizona’s harsh anti-immigration laws. Tragically, an untimely lock-down at Joe’s High School prevented teacher advocates to reach Joe’s mom before he was sent in an ambulance to Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.
There is lack of federal funding to assist undocumented immigrants in medical emergencies but State laws make the situation worse.
In Arizona strict laws prevent the use of public funding by undocumented students. HB 2008, was signed into law in 2009 as part of the 2010 state budget. This law is a wide-ranging bill intended to verify the immigration status of nearly everyone who comes into contact with state government, including vendors, contractors and employees.
This law affected a wide list of state agencies including Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System the Department of Health Services, etc. and compromised the care of undocumented immigrants (mostly young people) in hospitals in Arizona. Under this circumstances the hospitals suggested and were successful in medically deport undocumented immigrants.
Thankfully in Rocio Almanza’s case we were contacted and were able to request Lawyer Delia Salvatierra to immediately intervene on a Saturday morning. We also understood the need to make the case public and call the attention of this horrendous “medical dumping” practice. Media outlets are interested and will share this story soon.
Deferred action won't completely stop the threat of deportation for young immigrants. Even a patience with legal status could be in danger of being medically deported. Advocates need to remain vigilant to denounce this immoral practice.