Family Fights to Stay in America to Care for Sick Child

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A 9-year-old girl is battling an array of illnesses while her parents are fighting the family's deportation, worried that the child wouldn't receive good medical care outside the United States.

Lil Mejia was born in 1998 in the Dominican Republic following a difficult pregnancy.She stopped breathing shortly after birth, and seizures and pneumonia followed. She weighed less than 15 pounds on her first birthday.

Six years later, after many medical complications, her parents obtained temporary visas and brought Lil to Grand Rapids, where doctors at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital stabilized her condition: a rare combination of severe asthma, allergies, chronic lung disease and hormone deficiencies.

Now that their visas have expired, deportation proceedings could force the Mejia family to leave the country. They were relieved when a hearing set for this month in Detroit was postponed, giving them more time to build their case.

"I don't have words to say how much my daughter means to me," Giselle Mejia, 33, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Wednesday. "We gave up everything for her."