Immigrant children getting life-saving medical care can face deportation

Boston — Due to a change in policy by the Trump administration, hundreds of immigrant children receiving medical care in the U.S. are facing possible deportation. The children are in the country legally and many suffer from serious diseases, including cancer.

A vibrating vest, nebulizer and special medication help keep 16-year-old Jonathan Sanchez alive. He’s battling cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disorder damaging his lungs and digestive system. It also claimed the life of his sister Samantha, back in Honduras, when she was just 6 months old.

The family came to the U.S. and applied for “medical deferred action,” a program that allows immigrants to receive life-saving treatment. But, this week they received a denial notice, giving them 33 days to leave the country or face deportation. 

“To receive that letter is like a big hit,” said Gary Sanchez, Jonathan’s father. “I don’t know what will happen with my son in the future.”

Jonathan Sanchez, 16, is in the U.S. getting treatment for cystic fibrosis. But this week, his family received a notice, giving them 33 days to leave the country or face deportation. CBS News

As part of new Trump administration policy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services eliminated the medical deferment program, leaving hundreds of immigrant children in limbo. When CBS News reached out to USCIS, the agency did not give a reason for the sudden change in policy, but said Immigration and Customs Enforcement will now handle the applications. 

However when CBS News reached out to ICE, they said it has “no policy or program to deal with medical deferred action,” adding, there’s “no plan” to take it over.

While wearing his New England Patriots shirt, Jonathan Sanchez made his opinion on potentially leaving the country clear.

“There is tons of probabilities. But most of them only say one word: Death,” he said.

Neither ICE of USCIS would appear on camera. An ICE official told CBS News it was not consulted by USCIS about the policy change and only learned of it once those letters were sent out.

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: National, US & World News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *