ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 9-year-old Mexican boy with a massive tumor and his family have been granted extended visas so he can receive intensive treatment in New Mexico.
The newly granted documents will allow the boy known only as Jose and his family to travel to the state from Ciudad Juarez for up to a year, said Denise Gutierrez, victim assistance coordinator for Homeland Security Investigations.
"That way he can come back here for treatment and go back home so he can go to school," Gutierrez said. "It's what he wanted to do."
Jose was diagnosed with venous lymphangioma on his shoulder and told by doctors at the University of New Mexico Hospital that he must undergo a series of surgeries and treatments to remove the huge fluid build-up.
In July, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations assisted in picking up the boy and his parents from a neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez — one of the deadliest cities in the world due to drug cartels.
Federal agents helped the family seek care for the boy after members of First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho saw him during a missionary visit.
The church has set up a fund for private donations and is helping with the cost of the family's stay in the U.S., said Si Budagher, its pastor.
The church and the University of New Mexico Hospital are paying for Jose's treatment.
The family and the boy were originally given 45-day visas. Jose's condition sparked New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez to urge federal officials to extend his family's stay in the U.S.
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