Common Dreams reports that Donald Trump’s administration just ended a program that allowed immigrants with serious illnesses to remain in the United States on a temporary basis. Per NPR affiliate WBUR, the “medical deferred action” program gave immigrants that showed “extreme medical need” the ability to remain in the U.S. for two-year periods.
“Many of the people affected by the policy change came to the U.S. through a visa or other permitted status and are requesting to stay beyond those terms to receive medical treatment,” WBUR reported.
According to Mariela Sanchez, a native of Honduras, deporting her 16-year-old son would be tantamount to a death sentence for her son, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. TIME reports that Sanchez already lost her daughter to the same disease years ago after Honduras doctors did not diagnose it.
Anthony Marino, head of immigration legal services at the Irish International Immigrant Center, an organization that represents families in Boston, says the state has 20 that would be immediately affected by the decision. These families have children fighting HIV, cancer, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other serious conditions.
“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?” he said.
Democratic Sen. Ed Markey called the move “a new low.”
“Donald Trump is literally deporting kids with cancer.”
The @realDonaldTrump administration is moving to deport immigrant children fighting cancer, HIV, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy and other serious medical conditions. They had previously received waivers to receive treatment. @AP https://t.co/RIgXuRcNho— Michael Biesecker (@mbieseck) August 28, 2019
The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism for its handling of immigration in the midst of the border crisis. The Intercept reported that Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPPs) action, is exposing migrants to rape, murder, and kidnapping.
“The MPP, rather than protect migrants, puts them in grave danger,” the report reads. “It mandates that they remain in crime-ridden Mexican border cities for months, even years, waiting for U.S. courts to decide their asylum claims.”
The report highlights Juárez, one of the 50 most violent cities in the world. Even the U.S. State Department reportedly prohibits its employees from traveling through portions of the dangerous city. Regardless, Trump’s MPP action houses migrants that are expelled from El Paso in rented rooms and cheap hotels in Juárez.
“An unknown number of others are living on the streets, including in the city’s most dangerous sectors,” the report continues.
According to Jeremy Slack, a University of Texas at El Paso anthropologist, migrants are at a much higher risk in these situations than even Americans.