Immigration Officials Get Pushback On Decision To Deny Immigrants Here For Medical Reasons

Last month, the Trump administration said it would start deporting gravely ill immigrants here temporarily for medical care. This week, it backtracked a little. But 20 Attorneys General sent a letter to the administration saying they’re not satisfied. 

The letter to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services expressed “alarm and grave concern” over the ending of the policy. It had previously allowed these patients and their families stay in the country while they recover or receive treatment.

Earlier this week, the immigration agency took a small step back and announced it would review any requests that were already pending as of August 7th.  But the fate of future requests is still uncertain. And that’s what has the attorneys general concerned.

Phil Weiser is Colorado’s Democratic Attorney General and he signed onto the letter.

“We’ve always let people into our country when they needed health care,” he said, “and why we would stop doing that is something that honestly puzzles me and saddens me.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services declined to be interviewed. But the agency’s public statement this week said limiting its role in deferred action is “appropriate” and that it would free up employees to “address other types of legal immigration applications on a more efficient basis.”

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.