Parent’s Immigration Status Keeping Child from Undergoing Surgery
BROWNSVILLE- A Brownsville mother said she’s being denied the ability to take her son to a lifesaving surgery in Corpus Christi.
Wendy Armendariz said she was pregnant at the time she and her husband entered the U.S. three and a half years ago. They crossed the border legally using a tourist visa.
"I was here shopping and I started to feel bad. So, they took me to the hospital and I had to stay there. That's when they told me I was 40 weeks pregnant," she said. “I had an ultrasound and they said something was wrong with the child, that I needed to have a C-section and that I couldn’t leave”
Her son, Noe Martinez, a U.S. citizen, was born with a severe case of Spina Bifida. She said he had to be airlifted to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi.
Armendariz said she and her husband decided to stay in the U.S. so their son could receive the best care possible.
"He's already had 10 surgeries and he has to be checked. Every month I go with a specialist apart from his pediatrician. Every five to six months I need to take him to Corpus so they can check him and have surgery," she explained.
Armendariz said on their last trip to the hospital in Corpus Christi, authorities would not allow her to cross the Sarita checkpoint. She said her son is due for another lifesaving kidney surgery in Corpus Christi in August.
The mother told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the hospital will not perform the surgery without the presence of a parent.
"His doctor said one of his kidneys is working at 30 percent and the other at 70 percent. And that if he doesn't continue with those small surgeries he could start dialysis in a year or two, and with that diagnosis he won’t last long in life ," she said.
She and her husband hired an attorney to request travel documents for the family. Two days ago, they received a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denying travel.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to Vanessa Ortega, the head of the protection department at the Mexican consulate in Brownsville.
Ortega said the family needs to come set up an interview at the Mexican consulate.
"After that interview, we can determine if we should look for that help here in the United States with American authorities or if we should look for that help in Mexico," she said.
We shared this information with Armendariz. She and her husband said they are willing to do whatever needs to be done to get their son the help they need.