Family members of a 7-year-old boy from Honduras who is diabetic with kidney complications are pleading for the child to be brought to the Chicago area for treatment.
Joshua Landero arrived in the U.S. with his mother earlier this month, but did not receive medical treatment for days and has since been sent to Mexico, his family and local activists said Tuesday.
According to the young boy’s aunt, Maria Landero, who came to the Waukegan area 16 years ago, the family had hoped the child would be allowed to come to the northern suburb to seek treatment in Chicago.
“Please, we’re asking,” Maria Landero said in Spanish Tuesday.
Joshua and his mother were among the hundreds of immigrants stranded at border crossings in wake of new rules that upends long-standing protections for people fleeing violence and oppression in their homelands.
Under the rules, migrants who pass through another country on their way to the U.S. will be ineligible for asylum. Most of the immigrants arriving at the border this year pass through Mexico — including Central Americans, Africans, Cubans and Haitians. That makes it all but impossible for them to get asylum. The rule also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.
"Our first priority as it should be for [US Customs and Border Protection] is Joshua Landero's health and safety,” said Julie Contreras with the League of United Latin American Citizens. “All we want is to help save sick refugee children's lives. All refugees lives matter."
A CBP spokesperson confirmed in a statement that Joshua and his mother were “apprehended” near McAllen, Texas on July 10 by agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, but argued the family was not denied medical care.
“They received initial medical assessments by CBP contract medical personnel later that day,” the statement read. “On July 13, both were medically evaluated by CBP contract medical personnel and cleared for air transport to the San Diego Sector, as part of an ongoing effort to transfer family units in high volume locations to Border Patrol facilities with available capacity for processing and holding.”
The spokesperson said agents were advised the child had low blood sugar on Monday but they did not find any medical issues.
Both Joshua and his mother were taken to a local hospital where “he underwent another medical evaluation” and was later released. The family was later transferred to the custody of Mexican officials to “await their immigration hearing in the U.S.”
Activists and family members said they are now looking for supporters to help find Joshua and his mother in Tijuana.