The parents of a five-year-old boy battling cancer received a deportation letter from the Trump administration. It informed them they had 33 days to leave the country and their child’s life-saving treatments behind or they would be deported. Civil rights groups have taken up these deportation cases.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) of Massachusets and Lawyers for Civil Rights joined together to bring a lawsuit against the Trump administration for halting some immigrants’ life-saving medical treatment The lawsuit is on behalf of 19 families of very sick children who either had the deferments or were obtaining one.
The White House quietly released the letters August 7 to do away with the long-held deferred action program in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The ACLU’s lawsuit claimed Trump was violating the Administrative Procedure Act and the Equal Protection guarantee of the Constitution, calling it “unconscionable and illegal.” These cases mirror the cruelty of the president’s immigration procedures along the southern border.
A spokesperson for USCIS spokesperson spoke to The Hill only saying it could not comment on ongoing litigation. When the media first learned about the deportation letters, one of USCIS’s spokespersons agreed that the program was ending, but only under its umbrella. It referred reporters to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, noting there were exceptions for military families.
Immigration was caught unawares, then stated emphatically that the department would not be handling these cases.
Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts Carol Rose released this statement:
‘The Trump administration is hellbent on causing as much suffering as possible for immigrant families. This attack on children and their families is inhumane and unlawful. We will not stand for it: The ACLU and our partners are in this fight until all immigrants are treated with compassion, humanity, and justice.’
A 16-year-old and his parents have been fighting Cystic Fibrosis. They emigrated from Honduras in 2016 legally with tourist visas. More recently, they went through the process of applying to remain here under the medical deferred action program.
If their son does not get his treatment three times a day, he suffers breathing difficulties, coughing, vomiting, and chest pain. He told CBS Boston about his experience:
‘From my perspective it’s making legal homicide. Because in Central America there’s no treatment, no medicine, no doctors, no specialists, no nothing.’
‘They’re just murdering us, they’re killing us. The deportation in other words means death.’
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease where the body has difficulty regulating the body’s salt. Right now, there is no cure. Without treatment, children suffer from pneumonia.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and 17 other states plus Washington, D.C. sent a letter to USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli requesting an explanation for the policy change.
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