The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) proposes a new, innovative checkpoint medical justice project in South Texas that will impact the lives of families facing literal "life and death" situations. Any individual residing in Texas' Rio Grande Valley region who requires complex or critical medical treatment must travel to medical centers located in Corpus Christi or San Antonio, both located north of the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints.
Patients are often separated from life-saving treatment by the checkpoints. For instance, organ transplants, prenatal and postnatal care, and cancer treatment are three areas of advanced care that are unavailable in the Rio Grande Valley but available a mere 155 miles north at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi past a checkpoint. Staff at a regional hospital in Corpus Christi estimate that the hospital has issued as many as 100 letters a month during some time periods.
Although current funding has allowed us to conduct limited outreach and clinics south of the checkpoints, the response has been far greater than we have been able to meet, and without further capacity for representation, families with critical medical needs remain unable to pass the checkpoints, whether through a grant of Humanitarian Parole or Deferred Action. This problem has received both state and national media coverage, most recently in the case of Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year old
RAICES requests funding for the development of client-accessible deferred action and humanitarian parole pro se packets, packet dissemination efforts, additional trainings to medical providers and hospital staff in regions south of Customs and Border Patrol checkpoints, and representation in client cases as capacity allows.