The federal government is reversing course and will allow a group of roughly 1,000 sick illegal migrants to keep getting U.S. medical treatment.
The reversal is a partial win for Joe Biden, who has begun claiming President Donald Trump’s deputies are trying to cruelly “unplug” sick children.
The reversal came Monday via an announcement by the citizenship agency, which said it would restart processing requests for “deferred action.”
The requests are made by illegals seeking to defer their legal deportation so that they or their children can keep getting medical treatment. The agency said:
Today, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services [USCIS] announced it will reopen non-military deferred action cases that were pending on August 7. Letters will be sent this week re-opening all cases that were pending on August 7.
On August 7, USCIS stopped its consideration of deferred action for non-military requestors. At that time, USCIS sent out letters informing those who had requested deferred action that USCIS was no longer entertaining such requests. 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.
While limiting USCIS’ role in deferred action is appropriate, USCIS will complete the caseload that was pending on August 7.
The statement suggests that the USCIS will not accept future requests from illegals to stay in the United States for medical treatment. Also, a plan to transfer the deferred action requests to the ICE enforcement agency appears to have been dropped.
The reversal weakens the emotional argument being made by Biden and by many media outlets. For example, in a campaign speech in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Biden said:
Everyone from the ACLU to all the human right groups are trying to change what is happening. [Officials are] literally giving notice to these families that they’ve got to unplug their kids and get them out of hospitals and take them out of America. [When] has that ever happened in the United States? We’re 300,000,000-plus people and the idea that we can’t tolerate saving the lives — or trying to help save the lives — of hundreds of children in deep need is just wrong. It is wrong. It has to stop.
Like so many others have said, cruelty is the point here. It is their only point, It all the have to run on — fear, anger, division, cruelty. So this can’t just be a [presidential] campaign about Donald Trump, it has to become a movement.
Joe Biden says Trump's deputies are forcing parents to "unplug their kids" from hospital beds. Actually, USCIS is drawing painful lines on 'medical tourism' by distraught & decent foreign parents, whose numbers will rise to exceed any plausible generosity. https://t.co/X5c9F3n2v6
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) August 29, 2019
Biden’s claim is politically effective, partly because the pro-Democrat media is channeling interview with the sick children and their distraught parents into the 2020 election.
The August 29 issue of the New York Times reported:
The “dramatic breakthrough” that came from the trial has helped people with the disease live longer than 30 years, he said. Before the drug, they rarely survived past 20.
It has been 16 years since Ms. [Maria Isabel] Bueso [from Guatemala] began receiving weekly four- to six-hour infusions of the drug, Naglazyme, at the hospital. She has built a productive life despite the crippling disease.
Last year, she graduated summa cum laude from California State University, East Bay, where she worked with the school to start a scholarship for students with rare diseases. She has traveled and made presentations to lawmakers on behalf of people with rare diseases.
“A life hangs in the balance,” said MNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
In Boston, WBUR presented a patient named Jonathan Sanchez:
One of the center’s clients, 16-year-old Jonathan Sanchez, has a pending request with USCIS and fears his request will be denied given the procedural change. Sanchez, who was born in Honduras, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby, after his parents sent blood samples to the U.S.
His father, Gary Sanchez, told WBUR he already lost a daughter to the disease 18 years ago.
“Before my son, we had a daughter with cystic fibrosis, but she died in our country, since, in our country, there are no medical specialists or centers specialized in cystic fibrosis,” he said.
One heart-wrenching example of the human cost of President Trump's anti-immigrant agenda: A child who is an American citizen is fighting leukemia all by herself in North Carolina, because the government won't let her mom cross the border to be with her.https://t.co/S4cgJaVjAA
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 27, 2019
The Associated Press offered images:
They were visiting Boston in 2013 when the boy fell ill. He was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition for which he’s been treated at Boston Medical Center. She filed for medical deferred action almost immediately and they were approved in 2017. The status, valid for two years, meant she could get a work permit and he would be granted MassHealth and afford access to life-saving care. She is required to bring him into BMC for monitoring every two months; otherwise acute problems might arise that can result in brain damage or kidney failure, she said. Last week, Marie got a denial letter from US Citizenship and Immigration Services after filing for a renewal. They were instructed to leave within 33 days or else risk deportation.
“The lede story that I really want to focus on tonight is really very difficult,” said MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on August 29.
Few media outlets outlined the growing dilemma of migrants who are seeking to use Americans’ healthcare systems to treat their deadly cancers, heart ailments, or diabetes.
But the top-ranked comment in the New York Times‘ article was posted by “Via” in New York:
This is a sad case, but an oversimplification of the current system as it exists for care for millions of illegal immigrants. As a medical provider, I have seen innumerable cases of illegal immigrants who fly over on a pretense tourist visa specifically to get cancer care because it’s free if you show up to a hospital. These patients end up getting chemotherapy that cost millions of dollars and are enrolled onto state sponsored medical insurance indefinitely. As a physician I treat all these patients because it is my duty. But I frequently ask if this is equitable system whereby poorer or middle class US citizens have the burden of paying in part or a total of their care while illegal immigrants cheat the system and get care free. As a legal immigrant with sick family members in my native country, is it right for me to fly them here on a tourist visa for treatment not available at home. I wish NYT articles were more evidence based, bigger picture discussions than tear jerking articles, which I see too often in reporting on issues of illegal immigration. As I read the commentary by NYT readers, I also see more emotions displayed than true discussion, and wonder how many actually know the bigger picture and reality of the burden of providing health care to the >11 million illegal immigrants, as is also the case in our school systems (previously reported by the NYT.
Many millions of foreigners see considerable incentives to use small legal loopholes to live in the United States. For example, Congress unanimously passed a law in 2008 to help foreign girls who were trafficked for prostitution into the United States. Since 2011, at least 200,000 migrants children and youths from Central America — including many MS-13 gang members — have used that law to get into and stay in the United States.
So-called “health tourism” is a growing problem in the United Kingdom where sick people can enroll themselves in British hospitals for taxpayer-funded care once they get past customs officials. Breitbart News reported in June:
Health tourism is believed to cost British taxpayers between £200 million and £2 billion every year. However, Dr Jackie Appleby, who proposed the motion, calls the millions — and potentially billions — of annual lost healthcare funding “peanuts in the grand scheme of things”.
Dr Duried Syad Ali, who opposed the motion, warned that “Accepting this motion is sending the wrong message to the world, inviting everyone to free health care,” while Dr George Rae said: “The message coming from the BMA is… get on the plane, get on the boat because you will get treatment on the NHS for nothing.”
In California, Democrats have pushed for rules allowing illegal migrants to receive free taxpayer healthcare. In June, Breitbart News reported:
The Democrat-dominated legislature of California has approved a plan to spend $213 billion in state and federal tax dollars on free healthcare for illegal immigrants.
The new plan would allow low-income illegals making about $17,000 a year between 19 and 25 years of age to join California’s Medicaid program, KHOU reported.
Democrats estimate that at least 90,000 illegal aliens would immediately qualify for the benefits at the cost of $98 million a year. The new plan also makes California the first U.S. state to give illegals free healthcare.
Joe Biden is channeling university-class progressives as they favor politically useful illegal migrants over their fellow Americans: "They become American before a lot of Americans become Americans." #563: Why we have Trump. https://t.co/UunzRXTcJL
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) August 30, 2019