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Massachusetts Leaders Fear the Trump Administration is Unreasonably Denying Medical Deferrals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

According to reporting from WBUR News, three prominent members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation are raising concerns over the Trump Administration’s treatment of undocumented immigrants who are dealing with serious medical issues.

In a letter to Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, and Representative Ayanna Pressley all express their concerns that the administration is not fairly considering applications for medical deferrals.

What is the Medical Deferred Action Program?

Through the medical deferred action program, an immigrant may obtain a deportation deferral in order to remain in the country to receive (potentially life saving) medical care. These removal waivers are issued in cases in which the care is not available in the immigrant’s native country or when deportation would otherwise threaten their health and safety. Often referred to as ‘non-military deferred action’, the program allows medically compromised adults and children to receive care for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and more.

The Trump Administration Previously Threatened the Use of Medical Waivers

In August of 2019, USCIS began sending out notification letters warning of the possible end of medical deportation waivers. The policy change was immediately and widely criticized by immigration rights activists and public health experts. The risk cannot be overstated: the proposed end of medical deferred action was a possible death sentence to some of the most vulnerable immigrants in the United States.

After a fierce public outcry, the Trump Administration backtracked on its proposal—reversing its decision to deny immigrants access to necessary medical care. Unfortunately, serious questions are now being raised regarding how exactly the administration has been implementing the program, especially during the pandemic.

Concerns: Unreasonably High Denial Rates for Medical Deferred Action

With the COVID-19 (coronavirus) hitting communities all around the world, medical deferred action is more important than ever. The COVID-19 respiratory disease is extraordinarily dangerous for immunocompromised people. Major concerns are being raised regarding exactly how the administration is treating medically vulnerable immigrants.

As the Massachusetts congressional leaders write in their letter to the agency, “we fear that USCIS has renewed consideration of medical deferred action requests in name only.” They are seeking additional information on precisely what is going on with the program, specifically related to reports that medical deferred denial rates are unreasonably high. According to the letter, immigration lawyers in Massachusetts have contacted their representatives sounding the alarm that USCIS is improperly denying and leaving pending far too many claims.

Call Our Boston, MA Immigration Lawyer for Immediate Help With Your Case

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Massachusetts deportation defense attorney has the skills and experience to represent clients seeking a medical deferral. If you or your loved one has questions about your rights, we are here to help. To arrange your completely confidential, no obligation consultation, please call us (617) 722-0005 or reach out to us directly online. We represent clients throughout the region, including in Boston, Salem, Lynn, Newton, and Waltham.