14-Year-Old Girl Fights Cancer Alone Because Border Officials Won't Let Her Mom Cross the Border

"I want her to come here to take care of me. Because I need her," she said.


[Update: Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection have granted Dalia Perez's request, and she will be reunited with her daughter on Wednesday night. Cole Miller, a founding director of Solidarity Now, tells The News and Observer that it is not clear why they reversed their initial denials, nor is it apparent why she was refused entry in the first place. He says that Perez gave birth to her daughter in 2005 while legally living in the U.S. on a temporary visa, and he is not aware of any criminal history.]

When 14-year-old Ixcell Perez's leukemia relapsed earlier this year, her doctor in Mexico told her and her mother, Dalia Perez, to head to the United States to seek treatment. It would be her only hope of survival.

Ixcell is a U.S. citizen, born in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her mother is a Mexican national. In 2010, both moved to Mexico.

Four months ago, after traveling four days by bus from Tapachula, Chiapas, the mother and daughter arrived at the southern border, where immigration agents at the Tijuana checkpoint reportedly locked them in a cold room with only a mat on the floor. The agents did not return until 3 p.m. the following afternoon, when they took them back to Mexico.

For reasons that remain unclear, Dalia Perez was denied entry to the United States. According to The News & Observer, Ixcell's brother, who is also a U.S. citizen, later met her at the border, and the two traveled to the brother's home in Raleigh. She is now at Duke Cancer Center for treatment.

Her mother remains in Mexico, denied entry to the U.S. while her daughter undergoes a grueling treatment plan. "She has a life-threatening illness that requires numerous hospitalizations, clinic visits and painful procedures," stated her doctor, oncologist Michael D. Deel, in a letter to border authorities. "The physical and emotional aspects of receiving therapy for leukemia are too much for any child to endure without the support of close family members."

The local community in North Carolina has rallied behind the family. Two churches have teamed up to send cards and games as well as bilingual visitors to the hospital to keep Ixcell company. Rep. David Price (D–N.C.) wrote his own letter in support of the Perez family, reminding U.S. Customs and Border Protection that the mother "is not seeking asylum and wishes only to care for her daughter while she receives cancer treatment." Solidarity Now, an immigration advocacy group, has also helped to publicize the family's story.

In a video recorded by Solidarity Now, Ixcell told the camera through tears that she was not prepared to go through this ordeal without the support of her mother. "I want her here to come take care of me," she said. "Because I need her."

NEXT: India Is Riding the Nativist Wave to Launch the Biggest Decitizenship Drive in Human History

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  1. Oh my cold dark nonexistant heart strings are being pulled, She's a citizen she has financial backers why can't her mom visit with a travel visa? Are they trying to get the US to pay for her treatment? something is missing from this article. Less emotionalsplaining to me more factsplaining to me.

    1. Her cancer is readily treatable but the magic dirt in Mexico prevents it from being treated there.

      Mexico's Universal Healthcare System told her she's already had her one shot at beating leukemia but the US is the bad guys for taking a second whack at it as long as her Mom waits in Mexico.

      Not just emotionalsplaining; transparent, one-dimensional emotionalsplaining.

      1. BUT WE ARE THE ONLY 1st WORLD COUNTRY THAT DOESN'T HAVE GOV HEALTHCARE. Seriously though I get her wanting her mom there I don't understand the issue with why her mom can't travel into the country for even short periods of time. Can someone migrantsplain this to me?

        1. Only thing I can find from other articles is that her mother previously overstayed a B-2 visa, in fact her daughter was born here after the mother's visa had expired. It may simply be a procedural deny for fear of another overstay

          1. thanks.

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          3. So you're saying the mother is like a houseguest caught stealing the silverware and now pretends to be confused as to why she's no longer welcome in your home even though she really, really needs to use the bathroom?

        2. Yeah, we can treat it here because we don’t have democrat controlled national healthcare. If we did, this girl would be up shit creek in the US too.

          Rick socialism and their single payer bullshit. It’s nothing but treason.

      2. US is the bad guys for taking a second whack at it as long as her Mom waits in Mexico.

        It's just absurd that that is the condition.

        1. Technically, the condition is 'waits in Mexico or registers and pays in to the (U.S.) tax/education/healthcare system'. The fact that she overstayed her visa, left, and came back to the border without a temporary visa is indication that she has no desire to fulfill the latter condition.

          Your selective derision of the absurdity is very telling.

    2. Yeah, she seems to fit at least 3 categories to receive a B-2 visa. I suspect that some of the "reasons that remain unclear" might make her ineligible for a visa, perhaps she had entered the US illegally in the past so her daughter could be born here

      1. Didn't enter illegally, but remained illegally after her temporary visa expired, so that the daughter would be born here. Which, yes, makes her ineligible for a visa.

        She doesn't seem to have applied for one prior to showing up at the border, either, which, yes, would also get you stopped at the border. Naturally, on stopping her at the border, they're not going to let the sick minor through unaccompanied.

        I'd say she'd handily qualify for a compassionate need visa, but did her pro-bono help push that, or just try to use her to bash the immigration people?

  2. Good thing our brave bureaucracy stopped another iLlEgAl iNvAdEr

    1. Indeed, the mother of a fourteen year-old girl with leukemia is a serious threat to our national security and economic stability.

      Slightly OT: In about 2010, an undocumented young mother in CA was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. Under CA law, under MediCal, since her condition was life-threatening, she qualified for medical care.

      Unfortunately, a low-level bureaucrat "flagged" the case for "further investigation." At the first hearing doctors testified that they had already made arrangements for the surgery, and were fully prepared to perform it.

      Again, the State asked for another hearing. The "process" dragged on.

      Eventually, the young woman died, and the case was closed. The State of California managed to save a few tens of thousand of dollars by refusing treatment. Of course, now the State of California will be spending millions of dollars to pay for foster care for raising her three young children, who are all US Citizens.

      But there are no such things as "death courts" with socialized medicine.

      1. If Mexico doesn't care why should you?

        1. Gee, I care when government officials break their own laws which results in the death of a person, and makes orphans out of three others. If you don't well, I guess that's your "bag."

      2. So she can stay with you, albert?
        You're willing to take full legal and financial responsibility?

        1. So you are perfectly "okay" with low-level bureaucrats who abuse the law and cause a death? That's your stance? Go for it, dude. I wish you luck the next time some government underling decides he or she doesn't like you, and that the law doesn't protect you.

          As for her living with me, what part of my post that said she died did you not comprehend?

          Have a frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

          1. How is the mom dying by being denied entry?

          2. Wow.
            More psychotics by the day.
            The sooner you bring yourself the sweet relief of death, the sooner your suffering shall end, albie

            1. LOL. You wish.

    2. I mean maybe the woman is being stopped for good reason. Probably a bad one but we really have no idea or facts provided to ascertain that.

      1. *More than likely

      2. It is possible. However, besides a criminal conviction for a crime of moral turpitude, I don't see what good reason there would be in this case.

        1. Not bothering to obtain a visa before showing up at the border would do it.

          1. That's not a good reason--morally--in this case. What are you afraid of? That Mexicans will give their kids leukemia so they can sneak across the border if we let this woman through?

            1. It's a good reason-legally. What do you want, a system where government employees just do whatever they think is the right thing, regardless of what the law might say?

              1. Careful, he’s going to hurt his his trying to think rationally.

              2. I'm arguing against the law as it is. It is too restrictive and the visa process is too byzantine. Is it that difficult for you to imagine that the sacred immigration law could be changed by Congress?

                1. That's fine, I agree the visa system is too complex, with multiple flaming hoops set at right angles. I handled all the paperwork for my wife immigrating from the Philippines, and it was pretty nightmarish.

                  Too restrictive? Wouldn't agree with you there. Wrongly restrictive, maybe; Too restrictive in some ways, not enough in others.

                  But none of this goes to the question of whether somebody working at the border should be allowed to waive through without a visa a foreign national with a sob story. That decision is above their pay grade, and the lady didn't bother even trying to jump through any of the hoops.

                2. ""I’m arguing against the law as it is. It is too restrictive and the visa process is too byzantine"'

                  Compared to who?

                3. I agree, we need to get rid of birthright citizenship.

    3. Good thing our brave Propagandists at reason stopped another TrAgEdY.

  3. In Mexico wouldn't the treatment be free? Doesn't Mexico use the same treatments as the US?

    In any case, give mom a travel Visa, let her be with her daughter.

    1. The immigration people have actually stated that she should apply for a visa on humanitarian grounds, rather than just expecting them to let her in without one.

      1. Have you ever applied for a visa to the US? what a nightmare that process is. It's filled with delays, "mistakes" on the part of the government, and rude/incompetent bureaucrats.

        1. My son has cancer, a fully-automatic FN SCAR would make him feel lots better. Have you ever applied for approval to transfer a Title II weapon?...

          1. Well, since I support the second amendment, I agree, that process is retarded too.

            1. Whether you think it's retarded or not is immaterial. Do you think I should get special exemption from it because my son has cancer?

              1. I think the law should be changed so that entry to the US, and even residency, is not so onerous.

                1. Which isn't the question I asked.

        2. Yes, actually I have. But it wasn't a medical emergency, they have an expedited system for exactly that.

  4. I support a porous-border policy, but I can't stand articles like this one. There is a difference between properly considering the impact of policy on human misery or prosperity and substituting sob stories for analysis. The implied premise of these sorts of pieces seems to be that sob stories should dictate public policy, which seems, I dunno, incongruous with a publication called Reason.

    1. yes this is a garbage article that isn't fit for print by this publication imho. There are so many angles this story could be interesting and relevant to debate. The fact its just a naked appeal to I really don't know what I guess her mom coming here is fine but there are no facts presented and it just comes off as a screed with no purpose or direction.

      1. So... typical Reason article

    2. I don't really have a problem with it. I have learned that nobody really wants to talk logically about policy (well, not nobody, but very few). Rhetoric like this is the only thing that works. So be it then.

      1. gross. I hate this perspective.

        1. I'm not saying it's good. I just think a major reason libertarianism falls flat on its face in terms of politics--even though it is actually pretty hard to logically defeat-- is that it doesn't sound all cute and nice like everyone wants. Politics and policy are different. The latter persuades only a tiny fraction of people.

          1. I didn't say you aren't correct. I just hate the perspective.

  5. "For reasons that remain unclear, Dalia Perez was denied entry to the United States. "

    Did anyone ask? As near as I can tell, (Accounts vary) she's an "anchor baby" whose mother was present on an expired temporary visa at the time of her birth. That could very well legally disqualify her from reentry into the US.

    Further, the accounts I've seen do not suggest that she attempted to obtain any sort of visa before simply showing up at the border. Is it normally expected that you can just show up at our border without a visa of any sort, and expect to be admitted? No, not really.

    1. But...but......feelz!!!!!!

  6. "14-Year-Old Girl Fights Cancer Alone Because Border Officials Won't Let Her Mom Cross the Border"

    "14-Year-Old Girl Fights Cancer with family and church members in continuous attendance Because Her Mom Won't bother to apply for legal permission to Cross the Border"


    1. Yes, that would be a more accurate description of the situation.

    2. +100

  7. She is now at Duke Cancer Center for treatment.

    They could re-unite her with her mother in Mexico.

    There are a lot of secondary questions that this story raises. Why did the doctor tell her to go to the US. Is that because the care was superior, or was it because she couldn't afford care in Mexico?

    If it's the latter, that tells you something about our healthcare system. It also tells me why so many migrants may want to come here.

  8. Putting on my tin foil hat:

    Out of curiosity, who's paying Ixcell Perez's medical bills?

    It seems like several people involved are working both against knowledge they should have to generate a situation against their and their family members' better interests. A plausible explanation for such a situation would be money. A truly generous donor wishing for the best outcome would've researched the situation before trudging into such a debacle (e.g. 'hiring' Dalia as a housekeeper) but a donor with an agenda might've knowingly sought out and/or concocted such a situation.

    1. I'm presuming it's a charity-care case for the hospital. Probably a combination of some public monies plus the hospital just operating at a loss on this case-- which is very common.

      What this story speaks to me is now who's paying for what, who deserves to be here, but that it essentially lifts the curtain a little bit, possibly revealing-- even if unintentionally-- a bit of American Exceptionalism(tm). Which, by the way, you can believe in a more relaxed (or even completely open) border situation, and still accept as truth.

      1. I think we're talking about opposite sides of the same coin. Being less conspiratorial I was thinking "Follow the money."

        American medicine is and has been exceptional but Duke gets federal money and here we have a case where a federally-backed healthcare provider is rather overtly importing immigrants.

        Not to say 'OMG! We're being overrun!' but to, as you put it, pull the curtain back a bit for people who insist universal healthcare, the welfare state, and immigration are mutually exclusive issues.

        1. American medicine is and has been exceptional but Duke gets federal money and here we have a case where a federally-backed healthcare provider is rather overtly importing immigrants.

          Except the girl being treated is technically not an immigrant. She's a US Citizen. So this whole story is really about her mother and policies surrounding foreigners who have US citizens as children. And I agree with a poster above who says this suggests that the girl was an anchor baby.

          1. So this whole story is really about her mother and policies surrounding foreigners who have US citizens as children.

            Unless the story is about the money.

      2. I’m presuming it’s a charity-care case for the hospital.

        Probably not at Duke. They were home to this boondoggle too:

        1. I've read the article, I don't see where this negates the chance of it being charity-care. I'm not making a hard case for that, because I don't know, I just know how hospitals tend to operate.

          I did find this interesting:

          She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, to poor laborers. At age 12 she was found to have restrictive cardiomyopathy, a condition characterized by an enlarged and weakened heart and malfunctioning lungs.

          With the chance of a transplant in Mexico virtually impossible, they paid a smuggler to take them to the United States, through the desert and eventually to Durham, where relatives had said there were hospitals to help them.

          1. Bad PR. If it goes tits up Duke will be blamed for killing a poor immigrant, again. Locally, they caught a lot of flack for that mistake and there were some not so quite whispers that the mistake was due to 'racism'. This was also around the same time they has a big sterility scare after cleaning their surgical tools with hydraulic fluid, also by 'mistake.'

            1. Leukemia isn't exactly a heart and lung transplant but I thank you for a case that, if we just assume Duke University Hospital paid for it, is yet another step closer to "immigrants were imported".

              Again, not saying we shouldn't treat people who need treating but the open borders crowd is being disingenuous as fuck when they advocate the welfare state and even go so far as advocating interventionism *and* insist that we accept all comers. They wouldn't give people cancer or threaten children to enslave their relatives but, you know, if US actions caused people to displace their kids and those people and their kids wound up on our tab by invitation well, it was all voluntary so your input doesn't matter.

  9. Stop with the anchor babies.

    1. +100

  10. Why doesn't she just walk across the boarder and present herself to board patrol like millions of other people do every year? She will processed and given a bus ticket to Raleigh and summons to appear in immigration court 20 years from now.

    1. She will processed and given a bus ticket to Raleigh and summons to appear in immigration court 20 years from now.

      Actually there'd be a good chance she'd be released within the United States fairly quickly with that summons, and as long as she shows up, she's got a much better chance of avoiding deportation.

      From the 2,680,598 foreign nationals that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released on their own recognizance, 1,320,000, received deportation orders, 75 percent of them (993,593) for failure to appear. Only 25 percent of this group — some 324,402 people altogether — actually tried their cases.3

  11. If we'd end birthright citizenship this wouldn't happen.

  12. No.
    She must stay in Mexico and get her medical care there.
    Mexico is a socialist state, and as we all know, socialized medicine is much better than the inefficient, wasteful and backward healthcare we have here in this capitalist hell hole we call America.
    Socialized medicine is so superior to our healthcare.
    Michael Moore said so.
    He flies go Cuba any time he gets sick and is cured in no time.
    So stay in Mexico and enjoy the best possible medical care in the world, honey.
    You'll thank us later.

  13. The State is evil. Abolish it. Problem solved.

    -An Cap

    1. Nope.

      You are free to start your own nation. Sarcasmic and Zebneed more help to start AnarchyLand.

      Pool your money and buy some land outside the USA. I will send y'all bags of fruit from my orchards, if you leave soon.

    2. The State is evil. Abolish it. Problem solved.

      The State is quite arguably (responsible for) curing her cancer.

  14. It's important that ICE is allowed to suspend the law when they think it's necessary. I can't imagine what could go wrong.

  15. Mexico have excellent medical care at a small fraction of the equivalent care in the US. Dental, too.
    Tjey also have no stupid laws prohibiting many "non-conventional" treatements that are known to be very effective, thus many Yanks participate in what is sometimes called "medical tourism".. taking a "vacation" in Mexico to get top quallity medical treatment/care there at a small fraction of the cost for the same treatment here.

    Why doesn't the girl go join her Madre in Mexico, get her cancer CURED instead of kicked down the road a few blocks.. and spend some good time with Mamá

    1. But then, no one could blame Trump and the mess at the border resulting from a decade or two of lousey policies badly enforced..... that came about during the reign of the kinyun former sorry excuse of a presydunt.

  16. "For reasons that remain unclear, Dalia Perez was denied entry to the United States"

    wrote this article because she was detained by immigration authorities rather than the police somewhere ?

    Of course they did !

    Using single incident sob stories to make a political point when no crime has been committed as of yet only shows @Reason's political motivation for doing so.
    Not because they are so-called caring people looking out for this girl.

  17. Oh boo fucking hoo. Send her back to Mexico to be with her mom. Get her cancer treatments there FFS.

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