Father of girl with cancer may be deported

by: Erica Byfield Updated:

Byfield met with Denisse, her mother and her three siblings at their attorney's office on Wednesday.

MARIETTA, Ga. - A Cobb County girl's father went to get her cancer medicine and now he may be deported.

Denisse Hernandez, 9, has bone cancer.

"He went for my medicines at the pharmacy," the fourth-grader told Channel 2's Erica Byfield.

So far, the disease has caused her to lose her hair, as well as one of her legs.

Byfield met with Denisse, her mother and her three siblings at their attorney's office on Wednesday.

Olvia Maria Zuniga told Byfield her daughter was nauseous on Jan. 30, so she asked her husband to go to the pharmacy.

She added her husband, Edmain Betanzos, was almost there when an Austell police officer pulled him over for a broken headlight.

Betanzos did not have a driver's license and was taken to the Cobb County Jail.

At the jail, authorities learned Betanzos was in the country illegally and had been deported to Mexico in 2010.

Zuniga told Byfield her husband came back to Georgia in June of 2012 after learning his daughter had cancer.

"He took care of me a lot in the hospital, he did a lot of stuff for me," Denisse said.

The father of four is now in federal custody. Prior to his arrest, Betanzos was the family's sole provider.

The family's attorney, Isaac Cotto, said he is going to ask the federal government to allow Betanzo to stay in the United States as Denisse recovers.

"We're asking for them to use that discretion to find a way for them to allow Denisse's dad to stay," he said.

Activist D.A. King believes the U.S. must follow the country's immigration laws.

"Re-entry into the United States after being deported is a very serious crime. That being said, nobody has more sympathy for this entire family and especially the sick child, than I do," King said.

Denisse will undergo another surgery on Thursday. Three days later she'll turn 10.

"When I heard that he was not going to get out, I started to cry," Denisse said.

A spokesperson for U.S. Homeland Security told Byfield he'll look into Betanzos' case.


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