Rare Daily Staff

The Trump administration has reversed a policy instituted in August to deport undocumented migrants seeking life-saving medical care but leaves unclear what the policy will be toward new cases going forward.

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services said it will reopen non-military deferred action cases that were pending on August 7. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer the deportation of an individual who is illegally present in the United States as an act of prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis. Those denied requests that were pending on August 7 did not have removal orders pending and have not been targeted for deportation.

The agency receives about 1,000 medical-related deferred action requests per year, according to press accounts. This includes children with rare diseases who are unable to obtain care for their conditions in their home countries.

Last month, the USCIS, without notice, began to notify applicants for deferrals that it would no longer consider such cases. It ordered people who had pending requests to leave the country within 33 days.

“We are relieved that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has re-opened pending deportation deferral requests, including those for rare disease patients seeking medical deferments,” said Julia Jenkins, executive director of the Everylife Foundation. “While this is a positive development, this action does not guarantee that rare disease patients may remain in the U.S., continuing their life-saving therapy. However, this action does prevent their immediate deportation.”

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