ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Federal officials are working to extend a stay for a 9-year-old Ciudad Juarez boy who is suffering from a massive tumor, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations announced Monday.
Kevin Abar, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New Mexico, said that officials are trying to get a boy known as Jose a month extension so he can receive treatment in Albuquerque. That's because the young boy needs 20 weeks of treatment to remove the huge fluid buildup on his shoulder, Abar said.
"We are trying to work with the (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) so the family can come back and forth for Jose's treatment," said Abar. "He then might need two additional surgeries after that."
Last month, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations assisted in picking up the boy and his parents from a gang-infested neighborhood in Juarez - one of the deadliest cities in the world. Federal agents helped the family across the border so Jose could receive medical attention after members of a Rio Rancho church saw him during a missionary visit.
The parents of the child, identified by officials only as Jose to protect his family, said the tumor on his shoulder and neck has grown so large that it affects his eyesight and could move into his heart.
With no money for medical care, the family sought treatment in Juarez and El Paso, but did not receive any help removing the tumor, which has afflicted Jose since birth.
First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho and the University of New Mexico Hospital are paying for Jose's treatment.
Si Budagher, pastor of First Baptist Church, said 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.
Abar said the boy still faces a long road to recovery and may need additional physical therapy work.