Father, mother in Mexico fight for right to visit son battling cancer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Anabel Munoz Image
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Father, mother in Mexico fight for right to visit son battling cancer
A young man is fighting for his life at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, possibly with just weeks to live due to cancer. His parents in Mexico have fought for the right to see him, even getting help from a U.S. senator.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Alfredo Cortes wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a barber. From his bed at Children's Hospital Los Angeles where he's undergone treatment for a brain tumor relapse, he says he needs his parents.

Alfredo, who is a U.S. citizen, says since 2018, he's lived through all of it with his mom and dad. They've been separated since February when they sent him to the U.S. for medical treatment.

From the state of Hidalgo in Mexico, his mother Graciela Montalvo Martinez said last month they learned chemo did not work.

"Originally, I was asking that his parents be here to help be with him while he undergoes chemotherapy and now I'm asking that his parents be allowed in so that they can see their son one final time," said Jean Riesz, co-director of the USC Immigration Clinic.

Since early April, the USC Immigration Clinic tried to obtain humanitarian parole for his parents.

"We're looking at weeks, not months for Alfredo. The kind of last option is a clinical trial but he needs to get stronger," Riesz said.

Riesz says they got the runaround even after Sen. Kamala Harris stepped in and says the delays are not uncommon.

"We originally applied to USCIS. The case was transferred to ICE because father had a previous deportation order, old one from 2008. We got the runaround from ICE, we have now contacted CBP, Customs and Border Protection," Riesz said.

While CBP did not comment on the case specifically, Alfredo's parents told us they got an update on Tuesday notifying them they would be allowed in the U.S. for 60 days.

His parents are only expressing gratitude, hoping to be by their son's side on Thursday -- just days before his 16th birthday.

"The most important thing is to have faith in God. He's the only one who decides. If my son has been through so much, it's because he will receive a great reward," said Alfredo's mother.

Sen. Harris issued the following statement regarding Alfredo's parents being allowed in the U.S.:

"Senator Harris is pleased that the border patrol has recognized the moral imperative to act in this case, and that the parents of Mr. Alfredo Cortes will be reunited with him in the United States during this next phase of treatment. She will continue to keep Alfredo and the rest of his family in her thoughts throughout the procedure and the road ahead."