Oversight chair vows to keep investigating Trump plan to deport sick immigrants

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The Trump administration suddenly announced a reversal of its plan to deport immigrants receiving serious medical care but did not explain the move.

House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings said Thursday that his committee will continue to investigate how the Trump administration came up with a policy to deport immigrants receiving serious medical attention.

In August, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced plans to no longer allow immigrants or their family members receiving life-saving medical care to stay in the country. On Thursday, the policy was rescinded without any explanation.

"USCIS is resuming its consideration of non-military deferred action requests on a discretionary, case-by-case basis, except as otherwise required by an applicable statute, regulation, or court order," said the notice given to the Oversight Committee by the Department of Homeland Security.

The reversal came a week after an emergency hearing by the Oversight Committee in which witnesses who would be hurt by the policy spoke out.

Maria Isabel Bueso Barrera suffers from Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome and came to the United States from Guatemala for clinical trials in 2003. She received a threatening letter from the Trump administration telling her that her family had to leave the country or face deportation. She testified at the emergency hearing about her situation.

She was cautiously optimistic about the reversal in a statement to CBS News.

"We now wait to see whether our case will be approved as well as confirmation on the future of the program in order to give families like mine the assurance that our lives won’t continue to be threatened," she said.

"It should not take an emergency hearing by Congress — and threats for more — to force the Trump Administration to do the right thing," Cummings said in a statement. "Because of the secrecy and obstruction surrounding this policy, we will be taking additional steps to verify that these children and their families do not need to live in fear and uncertainty."

Cummings said his committee would "continue to seek answers about who was responsible for this cruel policy in the first place."

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, also commented on the reversal in a statement.

"It should not take an emergency hearing by Congress — and threats for more — to force the Trump Administration to do the right thing," Raskin said. "Because of the secrecy and obstruction surrounding this policy, we will be taking additional steps to verify that these children and their families do not need to live in fear and uncertainty."

Raskin echoed Cummings' message that the committee would not be thrown off by the reversal and would continue to investigate the decision.

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), who championed Barrera's case, said in a statement the reversal was a "major victory" but noted he was "dismayed" it took major congressional action to trigger the move.

Published with permission of The American Independent.