Undocumented immigrant returns to U.S. to get treatment for brain tumor

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Josh Einiger has the story from Woodhaven.

Every hour of every day, airports around the world are settings of joyous homecomings, but one mother and daughter feared they would never see the moment.

"I can't explain it. I feels so happy, I dreamed of this day," says Esmeralda Hernandez.

Sara Beltran-Hernandez's story starts almost a year and a half ago when the El Salvador-native was caught crossing the border, fleeing gang-violence at home, trying to reach her mom and sister in Queens.

"Never thought I would get to this point, because things seemed difficult, but I always asked the Lord to guide me to my mother. You can take me, but I want to see my mother. I can die, but let me see my mother first," Sara said.

Sara applied for asylum and spent 15 months in a detention center, before she collapsed last month. Doctors diagnosed her with a brain tumor, but still she was kept in a cell.

"It's not lethal at the moment, but it could get bigger," said Robyn Shepherd of Amnesty International.

That's when Amnesty International picked up her case.

"Our fear was that the policies were getting so strict that she would have no hope of getting out, or even worse, being sent back to El Salvador where she faces death threats," Shepherd added.

On Thursday, a judge allowed Hernandez' family to post bail so Sara could get the treatment she needs, and on Friday she landed at LaGuardia Airport. The road ahead for her is anything but certain, but at least now she has hope.

Sara's asylum application is inching its way forward. Eventually, an immigration judge will decide whether she can stay, or if she'll have to go home. In the meantime, she's moved in with her mother in Queens, where she will begin medical treatment for her brain tumor next week.

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immigrationWoodhavenNew York City
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