The Trump administration will reportedly restore a program that allows immigrants with serious illnesses to remain in the country on humanitarian grounds, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday evening, reversing a decision last month to kill the policy. The reversal, which was reportedly ordered by Acting DHS Chief Kevin McAleenan, comes just days after Congress heard testimony from witnesses at an emergency hearing over the policy. The Department of Homeland Security had scheduled a press call regarding the policy change with reporters on Thursday evening, before abruptly cancelling the meeting minutes before it was set to begin.
In late August, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced in letters to those with pending medical deferred action applications that it would “no longer consider deferred action requests” in most cases. USCIS stated at the time that those seeking deferred action could request the status from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but ICE officials were reportedly caught off-guard by the announcement, and told reporters that they had no intention of creating such a program. Members of Congress decried the move at the time as a “death sentence” for some of the most vulnerable immigrants, almost all of whom entered the country legally to seek medical treatment. “This is a new low, even for Donald Trump,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). “This administration is now literally deporting kids with cancer.”