ICE now to decide on suspending deportations of seriously ill immigrants

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Anna Giaritelli
August 27, 2019

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency tasked with removing people from the country, will now begin reviewing requests to avoid deportation by illegal immigrants who are seriously ill or dealing with severe financial hardship.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is charged with reviewing requests for permission to immigrate, mailed letters to an unspecified number of people in mid-August informing them their “deferred action” ā€” a decision by the agency or a judge to temporarily not deport them because they met medical or financial hardship criteria ā€” would suddenly end in 33 days.

“USCIS field offices will no longer consider non-military requests for deferred action, to instead focus agency resources on faithfully administering our nation’s lawful immigration system,” a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesperson wrote in a statement to the Washington Examiner Tuesday.

All recipients, including those receiving life-saving medical treatments for illnesses such as cancer, would have to leave the United States by that time or risk being deported by ICE. The official said the program is not being shuttered, but that current and potential recipients now need to apply with ICE for protections.

“Iā€™d like to underscore that this does not mean the end of deferred action. Instead USCIS is deferring to ICE,” the official wrote. “As deferred action is a type of prosecutorial discretion used to delay removal from the United States, USCIS will defer to the DHS component agency responsible for removing individuals from the United States to make most non-DACA, non-military deferred action determinations.”

ICE is taking over the process because “deferred action is a law enforcement tool used to delay removal from the United States,” the official added.

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