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New rule takes away medical deferred action, prompts lawsuits

If you or a family member have a severe medical condition, you know the importance of getting proper treatment. Receiving proper care can mean the difference between you living or dying.

If an immigrant had a severe medical condition and would not receive proper treatment in his or her home country, the U.S. delayed deportation. But as of early August, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent out letters that they will no longer accept requests for medical deferred action.

Policy gave immigrants time to get medical care

Medical deferred action allowed immigrants to continue to stay and work in the U.S. while they or their family receive necessary medical care. The policy was put in place to protect those who would die without proper medical care. In order to qualify, the applicant needed to prove that proper medical care was not available in his or her home country. If qualified, the USCIS allowed two extra years for the person to seek medical treatment.

USCIS no longer accepting requests

On August 7, 2019, USCIS sent letters of denial to immigrants seeking medical care. The letters said that USCIS no longer accepted applications for medical deferred action. USCIS made no public announcement before sending the letters.

After some pushback from immigrant rights groups, USCIS said they would look at any requests pending as of August 7. But going forward, they no longer accept requests for medical deferral. Civil rights groups have since sued the organization to bring the policy back.

Proper medical care is vital if you face a life-threatening illness. While lawsuits may bring the policy back, as of now the U.S. will not delay your deportation because of an illness.

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