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Trump Administration to Deport Sick Children, People with Disabilities

Policy Change Jeopardizes Rights to Health, Life

Wheelchair in the hallway of a care facility. (C) Flickr
The Trump administration has axed a program that allowed immigrants with serious health conditions – including children and people with disabilities – and their families to remain in the United States while receiving life-saving medical treatment.

The “medical deferred action” program was recently eliminated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services without warning. Immigrants and visitors – and their families – are being notified by letter that they must leave the country within 33 days of receipt. For many immigrants, this means leaving critical medical care behind, which could prove to be a death sentence

The Trump administration previously acted to limit judges’ abilities to terminate deportation cases, particularly those involving sympathetic circumstances. This means that not only are thousands of immigrants with serious medical conditions at risk of deportation, but so too are their caretakers.

These policy changes are the latest example of the many ways in which the Trump administration has made life more difficult for children and people with disabilities.

Immigrants with disabilities and rare conditions sometimes come to the US explicitly to seek health care as a result of a lack of rehabilitation services and substandard medical treatment available in their home countries. They also come at the invitation of US physicians conducting clinical trials of new therapies. By removing allowances for immigrants in treatment, the Trump administration is endangering people’s rights to health and life.

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