Viral video showing U.S. Customs agents removing woman from hospital angering immigration advocates

CPB: Woman was already in custody when taken to hospital

By Hatzel Vela - Reporter

AVENTURA, Fla. - Immigration advocates are fuming after a woman was taken from a hospital by U.S. Customs and Border Protections officers.

Videos of the exchange were taken inside Aventura Hospital on Sunday. That's when a CBP officer said, while speaking in Spanish to one of those advocates, that no warrant was needed. 

Immigration officials say the woman was at Haulover Beach with her three American-born children and her ex-husband. 

"As they were engaging her, she started to feel ill so they called the ambulance and took her to the hospital," said Melissa Taveras, with Florida Immigrant Coalition. 

Advocates for the Florida Immigrant Coalition videotaped the exchange as a way to document what they say is a gross violation of rights. 

"You have to have a judicial warrant signed by a judge addressing the person they intend to pick up," Tavares said.

They also took a photo of the officer standing inside the hospital. 

The woman was eventually released. She then walked to a waiting CPB vehicle. 

"Miami Sector does not conduct any enforcement operations in hospitals," a Customs and Border Patrol statement read. "However, agents will transport persons in custody and remain with them until medically treated and cleared."

Immigration attorney Willy Allen says it's not illegal for the officer to be there, but the behavior is alarming. 

"The language that the guy used at the hospital is unacceptable," said Allen. "He sounded more like a Nazi storm trooper than an American police officer or American patrolman."

Allen says incidents like this highlights a trend when it comes to treatment of immigrants.

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