U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Monday that they will process applications dated on or before August 7th, from immigrants receiving medical treatment for serious medical conditions.
The reversal follows criticism from both Democrats, immigration advocates and the medical community, following a rule change that was not made public prior to letters being sent to the immigrants denying their request for medical deferred action status.
Boston Radio WBUR News was the first to report the letters sent to immigrants, by USCIS.
According to the redacted letter, USCIS denied the request for medical deferred action writing that the field offices no longer considered the requests with the expectation of those for military members, enlistees, and their families.
The form letter gave the immigrants thirty-three days to leave the U.S., or face the deportation process.
The Boston Globe reported that USCIS confirmed the letters saying that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would now be responsible for processing the medical deferred action applications and that the USCIS would “focus the agency resources on administering our nations lawful immigration system.”
The New York Times explains that a immigrant seeking treatment for a life-threatening illness, for themselves or a family member must reapply for the deferred action every two years.
An official who would only speak on the background of the program said that the process to reopen previously pending applications would start immediately. The official added that whether the deferred action program would continue was still under review.
[The agency] is taking immediate corrective action to reopen previously pending cases for consideration. Whether a very limited version of deferred action will continue forward at U.S.C.I.S. is still under review. More information will be forthcoming.The New York Times.
USCIS notes in their statement that those immigrants that received the denial letter on August 7th, did not have removal orders pending, and they were “not targeted for deportation.”