Home Feature The United States stops granting special visa for medical treatment

The United States stops granting special visa for medical treatment

by Yucatan Times
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Opponents describe the measure as “a cruel change that could force desperate migrants to accept lower-quality medical treatment”.

WASHINGTON D.C (AP) – Honduran Mariela Sanchez comforts her 16-year-old son Jonathan during a press conference in Boston on Monday, August 26, 2019. The Sanchez family traveled to the United States in search of medical treatment for Jonathan, who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

Donald Trump’s administration removed protection that allowed medical immigrants to remain in the United States while they or their family members received life-threatening medical treatment, according to immigration officials in letters sent to the families this month.

Trump’s measure is a cruel change that forces sick people to accept lower-quality medical treatment in their home countries.

Mariela Sanchez, of Honduras, recently applied for a special 6-month waiver as the treatment ended. She was denied.  She says the refusal will be a death sentence for her 16-year-old son, Jonathan, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and is currently being treated with experimental means in Boston.

Sanchez said that a few years ago he lost a daughter to the same ailment due to a misdiagnosis by doctors in her country. The illness is hereditary, affects the lungs and digestive system, and there is no known cure.

Medical treatment interrupted
“In Boston alone, the decision could affect about 20 families whose children have cancer, HIV, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy and other serious illnesses” said Anthony Marino, director of immigration legal services at the Irish International Immigrant Center, the organization that represents families.

Activists say the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has sent similar letters to immigrants in California, North Carolina and other states.

“Can anyone imagine the government ordering you to disconnect your child from life support – to get him out of a hospital bed – knowing it will cost them their lives?” asked Marino.“This is the lowest,” said Democratic Senator Ed Markey. “Donald Trump is literally deporting children with cancer”.

A USCIS spokesperson said the measure went into effect August 7.


The Yucatan Times

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