LAC+USC Medical Center physicians say it is sanctuary for undocumented immigrants

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A group of doctors at LAC+USC Medical Center want their undocumented immigrant patients and the East Los Angeles community it serves to know that it's safe for them to come and receive treatment at public hospitals and clinics throughout Southern California.

Pediatrician Dr. Mohamad Raad said, "Our daily struggle, really, is to stay true to the inscriptions on the old county hospital, which say that this is a sanctuary for all to receive quality health care."

He cited the Texas case of 10-year old Rosa Maria Hernandez, a girl with cerebral palsy brought into the U.S. illegally by her parents when she was an infant.

Last month, immigration agents followed the ambulance she was traveling in from Laredo, Texas, to a hospital in Corpus Christi. After surgery, she was detained by federal immigration officials. She was later released after the ACLU filed a lawsuit.

Outside LAC+USC Medical Center, doctors and pro-immigrants rights groups denounced Immigration and Customs Enforcement's actions in Texas, saying California isn't the Long Star State.

"To the community, we want to say that we stand in solidarity with you. We all pledge to do everything we can to protect your right to seek health care, no matter who you are," Dr. John Harlow said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Homeland Security officials about the actions being taken in L.A. but did not immediately hear back from them.

Eyewitness News asked one of the doctors if he's had to deal with patients nervous about seeking medical care because they're worried they'll be picked up by ICE.

"We've also heard rumors that spread where people are saying, like, 'I heard that ICE was down the road.' They weren't corroborated but just that threat of the rumor, alone, prevented some people from coming to the hospital," said Dr. Aslam Khan.

The doctors also pointed out that ambulances are sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants as well.
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