Sara Beltran Hernandez, a 26-year-old mother who fled violence in El Salvador and has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Texas for 15 months, will be released from detention to be with her family and to seek treatment for a brain tumor.
Amnesty International had campaigned for her release and mobilized its 1.2 million members across the country to flood ICE with phone calls asking for Sara to be freed.
“Sara and her family are overjoyed that she will finally be able to be with her loved ones and receive medical care after being unjustly detained for over 400 days,” said Eric Ferrero of Amnesty International USA. “Sara never should have been held for so long in the first place, let alone with a medical issue. It is unconscionable to treat people fleeing violence and danger as if they are criminals. Applying for asylum should not mean giving up one’s human rights in the process.”
Sara will be permitted to live with her family in New York while her asylum claim is processed. Under U.S. law and international law, people coming to the U.S. can seek asylum if they fear for their safety in their home country, and their human rights must be protected while their claims are being reviewed.
AIUSA sent a letter to DHS on Feb. 22 emphasizing that detention should only be used by immigration officials as a last resort, and parole should be granted to those who are suffering from medical emergencies and pose no flight riskor threat to public safety. The letter said Sara fits these parameters and should be released from detention immediately.