Friday, August 30, 2019

Trump administration sentences sick kids to death

Not exactly, but deporting them amounts to the same thing by depriving them of care and medicines they need. You know that the administration is serious, and fancies itself imperially impervious to consequences of this action, when they turn it over to ICE.

Common Dreams reports on A Death Sentence’: Trump Reportedly Moving to Deport Kids With Cancer, HIV, and Other Deadly Illnesses. “This is a new low for Trump. The administration is now literally deporting kids with cancer.”

Trump's immigration czar
Trump's immigration czar looks on

The Trump administration has reportedly ended a program which allowed immigrants with serious illnesses to temporarily remain in the U.S., a move by the White House that rights advocates decried as “a death sentence” for children receiving treatment for cancer, HIV, and other life-threatening diseases.

Reporting from local NPR affiliate WBUR said the “medical deferred action” program permitted immigrants to stay in the U.S. for two-year periods if they could demonstrate “extreme medical need.”

“Many of the people affected by the policy change came to the U.S. through a visa or other permitted status and are requesting to stay beyond those terms to receive medical treatment,” WBUR reported Monday.

Immigrants living and receiving medical care in Massachusetts learned of the Trump administration’s policy change when they received letters from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services earlier this month warning them they will be deported if they don’t leave the country in 33 days. [Scriber: See sample letter below.]

According to CommonWealth Magazine, the immigrants facing deportation include children with “children with cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV, and other illnesses.”

Ronnie Millar, executive director of the Irish International Immigrant Center, which represents immigrants affected by the change, called the Trump administration’s move “inhumane and unjust” in an interview with CommonWealth Magazine.

During a press conference on Monday, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) blasted the Trump administration’s “inhumanity” and characterized the change in policy as an effort to “terrorize sick kids with cancer who are literally fighting for their lives.”

“This is a new low for Trump,” said Markey. “The administration is now literally deporting kids with cancer.”

The ACLU of Massachusetts vowed to take legal action to stop the Trump administration’s latest attack on immigrants.

“We will take this fight to the courts,” said Carol Rose, executive director of ACLU Massachusetts. “Lawyers are analyzing options right now.”

Deportation letter
Deportation letter

The NY Times reports on this action and provides a case study in Sick Migrants Undergoing Lifesaving Care Can Now Be Deported.

Maria Isabel Bueso was 7 years old when she came to the United States from Guatemala at the invitation of doctors who were conducting a clinical trial for the treatment of her rare, disfiguring genetic disease. The trial was short on participants, and thanks to her enrollment, it eventually led the Food and Drug Administration to approve a medication for the condition that has increased survival by more than a decade.

Now 24, Ms. Bueso, who had been told she likely would not live past adolescence, has participated in several medical studies. She has won awards for her advocacy on behalf of people with rare diseases, appearing before lawmakers in Washington and in Sacramento. Over the years, her parents have paid for the treatment that keeps her alive with private medical insurance.

But last week, Ms. Bueso received a letter from the United States government that told her she would face deportation if she did not leave the country within 33 days, an order described by her doctor, lawyer and mother as tantamount to a “death sentence.”

"I have been feeling super scared and overwhelmed,” said Ms. Bueso, whose lower body is paralyzed from the disease, an enzyme disorder that inhibits cells from processing sugars. “The treatment that I receive keeps me alive.”

It has been 16 years since Ms. Bueso began receiving weekly infusions of the approved drug, Naglazyme. 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.

Neither the drug nor the medical care that she requires is available in Guatemala. Without the drug, her health is expected to quickly deteriorate. Her breathing could become belabored; she could suffer cardiac arrest and become susceptible to infections.

When Mr. Lawler, the family’s lawyer, told them about the government’s decision last week, Ms. Bueso began to shake uncontrollably.

“We were crying with the nurses, doctors, everyone,” her mother, Karla Bueso, said. “Without her treatment, it’s like a death sentence. It has been hard to process.”

A spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services said requests for deferred action must now be made to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency responsible for removing people from the country.

What could be more inhumane than that?

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