(NEW YORK) — A 26-year-old mother from El Salvador who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor has been released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in Texas.
An immigration judge in Dallas granted bond to Sara Beltran Hernandez on Thursday, allowing her to leave a detention facility to seek treatment for the tumor.
“I want to thank Amnesty International activists taking action on my behalf,” Beltran Hernandez said in an Amnesty International release. “Because of you, I can now get the medical care I need and be reunited with my family.”
Beltran Hernandez has been in federal custody for more than 15 months, since being apprehended by immigration agents in Hidalgo, Texas, after she crossed the border on Nov. 4, 2015. She was fleeing what she described as “severe domestic violence” from a boyfriend and “death threats” from a gang leader in El Salvador, according The Washington Post, citing court documents. She passed a “credible fear” interview that qualified her to apply for asylum, the Post reported.
She has two small children in El Salvador who would be allowed to join her if she is granted asylum.
In a statement, Beltran Hernandez thanked Amnesty International USA for assisting her in the release.
Amnesty International USA said it hopes Beltran Hernandez’s case will inspire the government to change its policies toward illegal immigrants.
“We hope some good can come out of Sara’s nightmarish ordeal, and the federal government will change its policies and stop putting people with asylum claims in detention this way,” said Amnesty International USA spokesperson Eric Ferrero. “People fleeing horrific violence to seek asylum in the U.S. should be treated with dignity and compassion, not treated like criminals.”
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