President Donald Trump is finding every which way to hurt the immigrant community. Trump and his administration continue to strip away laws that are in place to protect immigrants. Just as he sought to take away Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status for undocumented immigrants, and failed, he is now doing the same thing with another program.
Immigrants who come to the U.S. on a visa or enter lawfully with a passport, have the possibility to remain longer under the medical deferred action if they or a family member is in need of extreme medical attention. Applying for this protection allows them to stay in the U.S. and seek medical help, and also for their parent to remain without living in fear of deportation.
In some cases, sick children are in the U.S. to be treated for severe illnesses such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and epilepsy, NPR reports. Last week, several families in the country received a notice stating that they could no longer be in the U.S. under the medical deferred action. These letters came without warning to them, to the public, or the media. The Trump administration is trying to get away with deporting children with cancer under the radar.
Mariela Sanchez told the Associated Press that she is here from Honduras because her 16-year-old has cystic fibrosis. Another child of hers died of the same illness in their home country. She said if she and her child go back forcefully, he will surely die. “I have panic attacks over this every day,” she said.
Previously, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would approve or reject medical deferred action applications. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be handling the application process but as of now, they are reportedly only approving “certain military members, enlistees, and their families,” NPR reports.
In response to this policy change, an ICE spokesperson told NPR, “As with any request for deferred action, ICE reviews each case on its own merits and exercises appropriate discretion after reviewing all the facts involved.”
“This is a new low for Trump,” Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey tweeted. “Maybe that is why they were too ashamed to announce this policy change publicly, and instead have been notifying families by handing them denials with instructions to leave the country. But we will not let the Trump admin hide from this inhumanity.”