Without any notice, the Trump administration paused a deferred action program which allowed sick immigrants to stay in the U.S temporarily. On August 7, The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent out letters to applicants saying they will no longer take requests and they had to leave the country in 33 days or they will face deportation. Since then, Trump has backtracked his decision and is allowing pending cases to process, but the fate of the program is still unknown.
USCIS should continue to be in charge of the program, or the Trump administration should give a valid explanation as to why it can no longer do that.
Most people in the program are severely sick and can’t go back to their country because they will face death. Plain and simple. The life-saving treatments they receive in the U.S are not available in their country of origin. The most basic human right is the right to life no matter who it is, so these immigrants deserve to live.
One of the most notorious cases is Jonathan Sanchez. He is a 16-year-old immigrant from Honduras who suffers from cystic fibrosis. According to npr.org, Jonathan said, while crying, that he felt scared to leave the country because he would most likely die since he can’t last a day without treatment. That is something a 16-year-old boy in America should not be worried about. In an interview with journalist Jorge Ramos, Jonathan’s parents, also with tears in their eyes, told him that 18 years ago they lost a daughter to the same disease. They don’t want that same outcome for their son. For now, Jonathan is safe from deportation but it is uncertain if he will be able to apply in two years. Allowing a boy to worry if he’s going to be alive after those years is inhumane.
Maria Isabel Bueso is also affected by this issue. She came to the U.S when she was seven with a rare genetic disease. She was told by doctors that she would not live through adolescence, but she’s now 24 and fighting everyday to survive, but now she is told by this administration that she has to stop fighting and basically sentenced her to death. A person who has fought for many years isn’t sure now if she’s going to be alive in 2 years, and she wasn’t given any explanation as to why the program has changed.
According to USCIS, the requests for the program will be submitted to ICE instead, but according to NBC news, ICE wasn’t even aware of the policy change until it was released by the press since it was such short notice. An ICE spokesperson said the agency doesn’t have a process to accept the applications, so it is not qualified to be in charge of the program. If it was running well with the USCIS, it makes no sense to change it or end it since there are so many lives on the line.
Trump’s goals have been massive deportation and border security since the beginning. Since the 2020 election is around the corner, he wants that to be his re-election campaign. That’s fair, but Trump shouldn’t mess with the most vulnerable people to fulfill his promises. That is completely unjust and cruel.
Trump has not come out with a statement explaining why the change in policy, nor did the letters sent to the immigrants gave an explanation. While there’s not a valid reason for the interruption of the program, its continuation in the USCIS will always be advocated for in order to protect sick immigrants who aren’t in the U.S for a better life. They are here for a life.