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Trump Administration Ends Protections For Migrants With Life-Threatening Illnesses

Citizenship and Immigration Services sent letters to immigrant families receiving medical care in Massachusetts warning them they would be deported if they don't leave the country in 33 days. Similar letters have been sent to immigrants in North Carolina, California, and other states. (Photo: Pixabay)
Citizenship and Immigration Services sent letters to immigrant families receiving medical care in Massachusetts warning them they would be deported if they don't leave the country in 33 days. Similar letters have been sent to immigrants in North Carolina, California, and other states. (Photo: Pixabay)

“Can anyone imagine the government ordering you to disconnect your child from life-saving care — to pull them from a hospital bed — knowing that it will cost them their lives?”

The Trump administration has ended a policy that allows migrants to temporarily stay in the United States while receiving treatment for life-threatening illnesses, according to reports from the Associated Press and NPR affiliate WBUR.

The immigrants facing deportation from the sudden policy change include children “fighting cancer, HIV, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy and other serious conditions,” Anthony Marino, head of immigration legal services at the Irish International Immigrant Center, told the Associated Press.

Earlier this month, Citizenship and Immigration Services sent letters to immigrant families receiving medical care in Massachusetts warning them they would be deported if they don’t leave the country in 33 days. Similar letters have been sent to immigrants in North Carolina, California, and other states.

Mariela Sanchez, a native of Honduras, told AP that her 16-year-old son Jonathan would die if deported. Jonathan has cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease with no cure that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. His sister died of the same illness in Honduras after doctors failed to treat it.

“He would be dead,” if her family had remained in Honduras, Sanchez said of her son. “I have panic attacks over this every day.”

Requests for temporary permission to stay and receive medical treatment will now be considered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Many critics denounced the Trump administration’s move as unnecessarily cruel. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called the decision “absurd and inhumane.”

“They’re not coming for a free ride. They’re coming to save their children,” Joe Chabot, a director at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, told AP.

“Can anyone imagine the government ordering you to disconnect your child from life-saving care — to pull them from a hospital bed — knowing that it will cost them their lives?” Marino told AP.

Senator Ed Markey condemned the Trump administration’s newest decision in a press conference Monday, saying the move will “terrorize sick kids with cancer who are literally fighting for their lives.”

“This is a new low,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey said. “Donald Trump is literally deporting kids with cancer.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pledged to fight the policy change in court.

“We will take this fight to the courts,” said Carol Rose, executive director of ACLU Massachusetts. “Lawyers are analyzing options right now.”

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Peter Castagno

Peter Castagno is a freelance writer with a Master’s degree in International Conflict Resolution. He has traveled throughout the Middle East and Latin America to gain firsthand insight in some of the world’s most troubled areas, and he plans on publishing his first book in 2019.

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2 Comments

  1. Brian Ho August 28, 2019

    You want to help, please sell your house to help them but do not use my tax money.
    I even don’t have money in the old age to fix my health issues.
    I need government to help me when I get old for my health as every one will face health problems in the old age.

    Reply
  2. Gene Ralno August 29, 2019

    Why would anyone with more brain cells than teeth object to this decision. It’s absurd to expect taxpayers to fund resident or illegal alien needs, regardless of what they are. We all feel bad when someone is dying, even if they are foreign nationals. But to simply give them money because they’re not from the U.S. is totally absurd.

    Reply

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